This coming Saturday is a mouth watering weekend for hardcore fight fans who are in for treat if they can find some of the bouts on TV.
Distrito Federal, Mexico
The most meaningful bout featuring an Asian comes from Mexico where we see WBC Light Flyweight champion Ganigan Lopez (27-6, 17) defending his belt against Filipino slugger Jonathan Taconing (22-2-1, 18). For Lopez this is a baptism of fire for his first defense whilst Taconing finally gets his second shot at a world title. Potentially this is a FOTY contender and really could be something very special.
The bout in Mexico isn't the only only of note featuring an Asian and may actually have a serious contender for the fight of the weekend status featuring another two Asian's.
That other potential fire cracker will see OPBF Flyweight champion Ardin Diale (31-9-3, 15) face off against fast rising Japanese star Daigo Higa (9-0, 9) in one of the bouts that we have been hoping to see all year. A couple of years ago Diale was in a FOTY contender with Higa's stablemate Koki Eto, losing in a crazy 8th round, and Higa will be looking for similar success here as he looks to continue his rise through the ranks. For Diale it's a chance to get some revenge of Shirai Gushiken Sports Gym and continue his reign, and work his way towards another potential world title fight.
On the under card of this Japanese card fight fans will see Junki Sasaki (15-3, 6) battle against Reiko Sugiyama (7-5-3, 5) in one of the very few supporting bouts of note.
Unfortunately a mouth watering match up between Ryuto Maekawa (11-0-1, 7) and Ryuto Oho (9-2-1, 2) has been cancelled following an injury to Maekawa, though we have been informed that the bout will be rescheduled.
On a second Japanese card fight fans will get the chance to see two notable names in action.
One of the notable names is former Japanese Super Featherweight champion Rikki Naito (14-1, 5) who faces Argie Toquero (9-4-2, 7). This will be Naito's second bout since losing the Japanese title last year to Kenichi Ogawa and should be a straight forward win for the talented 24 year old, who will be fighting for the first time this year.
The other notable name on this show is former OPBF and Japanese Light Middleweight champion Charles Bellamy (25-3-1, 17), who faces Elfelos Vega (6-3, 4). This will be Bellamy's first bout this year and is likely to help kick start his career after some issues out of the ring. The talented Japanese based American should over-come Vega relatively easily, given that Vega has lost 2 of his last 3.
New South Wales, Australia
Back on the road there is also action in Australia with several Asian fighters.
One of those Asian's is Joebert de los Reyes (15-6-1, 10) who faces off against Darragh Foley (8-2, 6) for the WBA Oceania Light Welterweight title. On paper this doesn't look anything special but the reality is that both men have something to gain here, and de los Reyes is looking to avenge a 2015 defeat to Foley, this really could be an intriguing bout.
Two other Asian fighters clash in a female bout as Filipino Gretchen Abaniel (16-8, 6) faces Thailand's Petcharas Superchamp (6-0, 1) for the GBU and WIBA Minimumweight titles. On paper Abaniel will be favoured given her edger in experience though the Thai will likely feel confident of continuing her unbeaten run.
November 24th-Wanheng defends title against Korean banger, Igarashi, Iwasa and Ota in action in Japan
The attention of the boxing world turns to Thailand today where we see WBC Minimumweight champion Wanheng Menayothin (39-0, 14) defending his title for the 3rd time. The unbeaten Thai, who will have to face a mandatory challenger in 2016, will be up against Korean slugger Young Kil Bae (26-4-1, 21) who looks to claim Korea's first world title in the better part of a decade. Wanheng appears to be a huge favourite given his record, ability and style however Bae certainly comes in to this bout in good form with 17 straight T/KO wins and will be hoping to extend that run in what will be a career defining bout.
On the same day we also get the chance to see the first of two Teiken shows to close the month. This one features a number of notable names, including a former world champion and two former Japanese and OPBF champions.
That world champion is former WBC Flyweight kingpin Toshiyuki Igarashi (21-2-1, 11) who looks to continue his ascent to a Super Flyweight title shot as he takes on Jonathan Francisco (8-3, 2). The bout is a mismatch in favour of Igarashi though it's clear his team are hoping to get him a title fight in 2016 and want to just keep him ticking over rather than really put him through an actual test.
One of the former OPBF/JBC champions is Ryosuke Iwasa (19-2, 12) who faces Marlon Arcilla (8-2, 1) in what will be Iwasa's first bout since his TKO loss, in an IBF interim title bout, to Lee Haskins in the UK. Iwasa was made to look very basic by Haskins and will likely have had his confidence hit by the loss so this is nothing more than a confidence builder for Iwasa who will likely face tougher foes in 2016 as he looks to climb back up the rankings.
The other former OPBF/JBC champion in action is Charlie Ota (24-3-1, 16) who fights for the first time since a close loss to Yuki Nonaka last December. The popular “Charlie” will be facing unbeaten Filipino Stephen Gelawa (6-0-1, 4) in what looks to be an easy win for Ota, who has lost his last two. This is a drop down in “level” for Ota but given his inactivity we don't begrudge him an easy comeback fight.
Dec 28th- Nonaka and Ota start off the New Year run but Nakamura and Labao have the potential to steal the show
Although December 30th and 31st are by far the most exciting days left this year for boxing fans we do have a very interesting “starter” a few days early as Muto Promotions put on a genuinely interesting card around the Japanese domestic scene. The show won't have international fans too excited but there is a potential FOTY on it and 3 genuinely interesting bouts.
The main event will see Japanese Light Middleweight champion Yuki Nonaka (26-8-2, 9) defending his belt against former champion Charlie Ota (24-2-1, 16). Nonaka won the title earlier this year with an excellent victory over the heavy handed Kengo Nagashima, it was a bout Nonaka made look easy despite Nagashima being a dangerous puncher. Whilst Nagashima was a dangerous puncher it's fair to say Ota is a much more rounded and dangerous fighter and we suspect Ota will be a nightmare for Nonaka here in what is potentially a very good bout between a boxer and a brawler.
Although the main event looks really good we've got to admit that the co-feature has the potential to be even better as the heavy handed Masao Nakamura (18-2, 18) takes on tough Filipino Rey Labao (26-6, 17) in a contest that has all the ingredients to be something special. Nakamura comes into the bout following a loss to the unheralded Masayuki Ito and will be hoping to get back to winning ways here. Labao, himself a loser last time out Roman Andreev, will also be wanting to to get back with a win. Not only do both men need a win here but both also love to punch and have real belief in their power. Of the two we suspect Nakamura is the bigger puncher however Labao has never been stopped and there is every chance he can Nakamura's power. There is however no proof that Nakamura can take the best Labao has to offer. This one may be a thriller or it may be over very quickly.
A third notable contest on this card will see Kojiro Takada (13-7-3, 9) battle against former OPBF title challenger Eita Kikuchi (15-4-4, 7). Takada is a streaky fighter and as he lost last time out we suspect he'll loser again here, though the bout was close and he has got the ability to spring genuine upsets, as he did against Ratchasak KKP and Jerope Mercado. Kikuchi will be seeking his second straight win after suffering back-to-back losses, including a stoppage defeat to Shingo Wake in an OPBF Super Bantamweight title fight. Although the loser won't be heading to retirement the winner will certain take a big boost here whilst the loser will, obviously, be hit by a big set back that could be hard to come back from.
One more bout we'd like to quickly mention will see Yuki Strong Kobayashi (8-3, 4) battle against the criminally under-rated Satoshi Niwa (15-18-3, 2). Kobayashi was recently the pro-test partner for the highly regarded Hinata Maruta and the reports suggest Maruta man handled him at times, it'll be interesting to see what he's like here. Niwa on the other hand sports the most misleading record in Japanese boxing and last time out he pushed the then unbeaten Tatsuya Ikemizu very close in a hard fought 8 rounder. This will be competitive if nothing else.
As well as the 4 bouts we've spoken about this card will feature a further 3 bouts
Metro Manila, Philippines
As well as the action in Japan there is also a show in the Philippines. Although this can't isn't as big it does look like a really interesting one with 3 genuinely notable bouts on it.
The most interesting of the bouts it at Bantamweight where the unbeaten Rex Wao (10-0, 8) attempts to defend his WBC International title against former world title challenger Silvester Lopez (22-9-2, 16). Wao is very highly touted and some in the Philippines seem to view him as one of the country's most promising fighters however this is a step up for the 24 year old. Lopez might only be 27 but he already appears to be on the slide, big time, and will know a loss here could be the end of his dreams of ever becoming a force on the world scene. Really good match up and a very important one.
At Featherweight fans will see an interesting clash between Dennis Tubieron (19-3-1, 8) and Carlo Magali (18-7-2, 9). The two men will be fighting for the WBC International title at Featherweight and the winner may well find them put into the verges of the WBC's top 15.
In a Lightweight clash Japan's heavy handed, and under-rated, Tosho Makoto Aoki (18-12-2, 15) will battle against Indonesia's Rengga Rengga (7-1, 1) for the IBF Asia title. Aoki comes into this bout on the back of 5 straight stoppage victories and a growing reputation as a dangerous puncher whilst Rengga was last seen being stopped in just 119 seconds by Masatoshi Kotani. We suspect this will be a mismatch with Aoki taking out the Indonesian early on.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
Not all days are about fights that take place in Asia, a lot are actually about fights that take place around the world. This weekend is a great example of that as we have a world ranked Japanese based fighter fight in Canada and a Filipino fighting in Mexico.
In a rare day a fight not in Asia takes the top billing for us as the Japanese based American Charlie Ota (24-1-1, 16) fights in the biggest fight of his career so far. Ota, a former Japanese and OPBF Light Middleweight champion, will be fighting against unbeaten American Jermell Charlo (23-0, 11) in an eliminator for the IBF #2 ranking. The bout is a genuinely tough one for "Charlie" and Charlo has looked very impressive at times, so much so that some in America are already dubbing him as a future champion. For Ota to win he will have to slow down the fast Charlo and that alone is a huge ask.
The winner of this bout should, in theory, be a fight or so away from a clash with IBF Light Middleweight champion Carlos Molina. That's a very difficult bout but Molina doesn't have the power to bother many fights and Ota may well see Molina as an easier foe than Floyd Mayweather, the WBA/WBC champion, or WBO champion Demetrius Andrade, who himself has a mandatory against Brian Rose later this year.
Cotabato del Sur, Philippines
As well as the big international fight we have two notable cards in the Philippines. For us the more interesting of those is the small card at the Lagao Gym. This show's main event is a bout between Raymond Tabugon (12-3-1, 5) and the unbeaten Jake Bornea (6-0, 3) who will be meeting a battle for the currently vacant WBC Asia Council Continental Flyweight title.
A second bout of note on this show will be between former world title challenger Jether Oliva (20-2-2, 10) and the over-matched Jopher Marayan (6-4-2, 2). It's hard to see anything but an easy victory for Oliva here and although he's not scored that breakthrough victory yet it's clear he's got the talent to mix it up at world level, as he showed in a recent bout with former IBF Flyweight champion Moruti Mthalane. At just 26 years old we are expecting to see Oliva claim a world title some day and he should make light work of Jopher Marayan here.
On the under-card fans will get the chance to see the very talented John Vincent Moralde (8-0, 4) who battles the sketchy Rolando Omela (5-9-3, 1) in what we imagine could be a bit one sided, if Moralde is as good as we're being told.
Metro Manila, Philippines
On the other Filipino show the main event will see Giemel Magramo (9-0, 6) battle against journeyman Pit Anacaya (8-23-2, 1) in a 10 round contest. There is no title on the line here and we can't see anything but a Magramo victory.
In the most interesting under-card bout Jay Loto (7-0) will be fighting against the once beaten Lester Abutan (5-1-2, 2). This is a better match up, on paper, than the main event but it;s still not a great bout in all honesty.
Baja California, Mexico
Talking about Filipino's it's worth mentioning that the promising youngster Jun Doliguez (18-1-2, 14) returns to Mexico after suffering his first loss there last month. He returns in an attempt to avenge that loss as he rematches Mexico's Gabriel Francisco Pina (11-11-5, 4), who claimed a controversial decision over him just a few short weeks ago. We're expecting Doliguez to make light work of Pina this time around and although he was dropped in the opening round of their first meeting many had him winning clearly. Hopefully however Doliguez shows a new found calmness to his work as he has often looked reckless through his career with his all out offensive mentality, which is fun to watch but can get him into trouble.
In Germany we get to see Kuwaiti Light Heavyweight Ali Rami (1-0, 1), not to be confused with Yemen's KO sensation Ali Raymi, in action as he takes on the win-less Emilio Beljan (0-3), who hasn't fought in over 6 years. It's hard not to feel that this is an easy win for Rami though we're unsure on what he imagines his ceiling is going to be in this sport. We doubt he'll go far and in fact the comparison's between himself and Raymi maybe his one claim to fame.
In Australia we have a trio of Asian's in action. These include Filipino journeyman Roberto Lerio (16-19-1, 6) who will be looking to be the the second Oriental fighter this year to defeat Jason Cooper (9-2-1, 5), who was beat by Qiu Xiao Jun in February. Incidentally this is the second meeting between these two men with Lerio actually holding a split decision win over Cooper from back in 2012 when he gave Lerio gave Cooper his first loss. Cooper has improved since the first fight but Lerio may have the confidence and belief to think that he can repeat his achievement from a coupld of years back.
Another of the Asians is Thailand's tough Paitoon Jaikom (1-5) who will be hoping to upset the debuting Dean Thomas (0-0) in a Welterweight bout. We know Paitoon is nothing special but we are impressed by his genuine toughness which he demonstrated against Ben Capps in a very recent bout. The other Asian is also a Thai in the form of Arnon Yuchareon (0-1) who will be hoping to score his first career as he battles the debuting Zoran Cassidy (0-0).
(Image, of Ota, courtesy of http://dbe1.com)