This coming Saturday isn't a huge day for Asian fight fans, but there is a nice mix of action, including title fights, in both Japan and the Philippines, as well as prospects in action in what should be a better day of action than it looks on paper.
Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, Japan
For us the most interesting action comes from Tokyo, where will be getting the latest Dynamic Glove show. The card features an Oriental title fight, a rematch of an interest Japanese Middlewieght bout and a the next step up for a promising prospect.
The title bout will see OPBF and WBO Asia Pacific Welterweight champion Ryota Toyoshima (14-2-1, 9) make his second defense of the OPBF belt as he takes on "reimported" boxer Shoki Sakai (26-12-2, 14), who first made his name fighting in the West. The talented Toyoshima has been on a tear in recent bouts, and scored notable wins over Riku Nagahama and Yuki Beppu already this year, a win over the teak tough Sakai would put him in the running for the Japanese domestic fighter of the year. Sakai on the other hand was last seen losing a close, and hotly contested, bout to Keita Obara for the Japanese title, and he'll know that a loss here might be his final shot to win a notable title, especially his style which does seem him taking a lot of punishment. Our in depth preview of this bout can be read here Toyoshima defends OPBF title against tough guy Sakai!
In an interesting Japanese Middleweight bout, yes we do actually get some of those, we'll see All Japan Rookie of the Year winner Katsuhiro Nakata (7-0, 4) look to repeat his September win over once touted amateur Ran Tomomatsu (1-2). In their first bout Nakata won 58-56 on all 3 cards, but Tomomatsu was certainly not shown up there and will be determined to get revenge here, and get his career back on track after back to back losses.
A third bout of note on this card will see promising novice Yudai Murakami (1-0), who was a very solid Japanese amateur, look to score his second win in the professional ranks, as he takes on Yudai Yakabu (3-2, 3). Murakami looked solid in his debut, back in January, but this is a credible step up and the hard hitting Yakabu will be in the ring to stop, or be stopped. Interestingly Yakabu has never seen round 4 of a fight, and has only gone beyond a single round twice, so we do not expect this one to go long.
The Flash Grand Ballroom of the Elorde Sports Complex, Paranaque City, Metro Manila, Philippines
As well as the Japanese card there's also an interesting one in the Philippines featuring former world title challengers and promising unbeaten fighters.
The best bout on the card sees the once touted Mark Anthony Geraldo (38-9-3, 19), who really is a skilled fighter but has been inconsistent at times, take on exciting youngster Carl Jammes Martin (17-0, 15) for the GAB Super Bantamweight title. Geraldo won the title in 2019 and has defended it once since winning it, but has been inactive and this will be his first bout in over 2 years. Although very skilled we do wonder problems inactivity will cause for him here. As for Martin he is one of the rising stars of Filipino boxing, with an exciting, hard hitting style. Martin has been stepping up his level of competition in recent bouts, and will feel confident of making this step up as well as he looks to prove he's ready for bigger and better bouts. This should be a very interesting test for the unbeaten youngster.
In a battle of unbeaten fighters former amateur standout Charly Suarez (8-0, 6) will be up against Delmar Pellio (9-0, 4). Suarez was someone who had the skills to go a long, long way in the sport. Now aged 33 it seems he will never come close to reaching his potential, and instead it seems almost like he's going to be a fighter who retires as tale of what could have been, had he turned professional younger and had the Pandemic not hit. Aged 21 Pellio is promising youngster, but sadly he comes into this bout having been out of the ring for almost 2 years and he is stepping up massively. It's hard to see past a Suarez win here, but he needs to kick on in 2022 if he's ever going to come close to landing a major international bout.
A third bout of note on this card will see two former world title challengers facing off, as recent Naoya Inoue victim Michael Dasmarinas (30-3-1, 20) takes on Ernesto Saulong (22-7-2, 9), who challenged the then IBF Super Bantamweight champion Ryosuke Iwasa back in 2018. On paper this looks a pretty interesting bout, but Saulong has struggled for wins recently and is 1-5-1 in his last 7. Despite that he is tough and he will be in the ring looking to upset Dasmarinas, who hasn't fought since losing to the Monster back in June. The loser of this is unlikely to find themselves anywhere close to a major international fight, but the winner could end up landing a fight of note next year.
CAA Centre, Brampton, Ontario, Canada
Away from Asia we'll see Canadian based Indian fighter Sukhdeep Singh Bhatti (8-0, 3) take on limited veteran Juan Carlos Raygosa (17-18-3, 6). Singh is a solid boxer, but the 29 year old is going to have to look to make up for lost time next year, as he only fought once in 2020 and this will be his first bout of 2021. Thankfully he will get some rounds here because Raygosa, for all his faults, is a tough and rugged guy capable of taking good fighters rounds. This is not the "gimmie" it looks, but it's hard to see past a Bhatti win.
Urdaneta Cultural Sports Complex, Urdaneta City, Pangasinan, Philippines
This coming Saturday attention turns to the Phillipines for a small card in Pangasinan, which features several noteworthy Pinoy fighters all looking to tick over before bigger and better things in the future. Hopefully the not too distant, future.
The most noteworthy name on the show is former Filipino amateur standout Charly Suarez (7-0, 5), who seemed destined for big things when he turned professional in 2019, but is still very much facing lower level domestic talent as he takes on Lorence Rosas (9-5-2, 3). Suarez had all the talent to make a mark on the world rankings, though sadly turned professional at an advanced age, and saw his climb though the rankings slowed by the on going pandemic. He should have absolutely no issues with Rosas here, especially given that Rosas has lost his last 4, is without a win since March 2018, and has been stopped in 2 of his last 3. A really disappointing bout for Suarez, who really needs bigger bouts in 2023.
In one of the supporting bouts the heavy handed Arnel Baconaje (13-4, 11) will be up against Danny Tampipi (9-12-2, 5). The 27 year old Baconaje is now world beater, but he's someone who could mix on the regional title level over the next few years. Sadly however he is going over old ground here, having stopped Tampipi back in 2018, before a career best win over Tomjune Mangubat. It's a real shame he's not managed to kick on and really push his career forward since 2019, just as it seemed there was something bright on the cards.
The once beaten Lorenz Ladrada (10-1-1, 3) is another fighter worthy of some attention, as he takes on Gary Tamayo (4-1, 3) in a 6 rounder at Featherweight. Ladraba is unbeaten since his secnd bout, a close loss to Reymark Taday in 2015, and has looked like a fighter with the potential to go far over the next few years. Tamayo on the other hand was beaten just 2 fights ago, by Lienard Sarcon, and has only fought once in the last 24 months, not a good signing coming in to a bout like this.
Dignity Health Sports Park, Carson, California, USA
The biggest bout involving an Asian fight this coming Saturday is a bit of an unexpected one as Mongolian fighter Tugstsogt Nyambayar (12-1, 9) took a short notice chance to face unbeaten American Chris Colbert (15-0, 6), for Colbert's WBA interim Super Featherweight title. Originally Colbert had been set to face Yuriorkis Gamboa, but Gamboa had to pull out due to injury with Nyambayar replacing him. The Mongolian will be moving up in weight for this bout, but he will likely be aware that he's also being over-looked, and has nothing to lose here. He'll be hungry to claim a "world title", even a WBA interim belt, and it would open big doors for him. Colbert on the other hand looks like one of the future stars of American boxing, and a good performance by him could open the doors to some potentially huge fights at 130lbs down the line.
Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, Japan
As well as the great fight in California, it's also a busy day through Asia this Saturday, with the most meaningful single bout coming from Korakuen Hall, in the main event of a Dynamic Glove show.
That main event will see former WBO Super Featherweight champion Masayuki Ito (26-3-1, 14) take on former Japanese Light Welterweight champion Valentine Hosokawa (25-8-3, 12) in a bout at Lightweight. Coming in to this both men will feel they need to win. Ito was beaten last December, losing a close decision to Hironori Mishiro, and has lost 2 of his last 3, including a loss to Jamel Herring in 2019. He really needs a big win to get his career back on track. The 40 year old Hosokawa on the other hand was last seen losing to triple crown Lightweight champion Shuichiro Yoshino and he will be hoping that a win over Ito will secure him one more shot at a title. This should be a great mix of skills, excitement, and under-rated power from both men. It just really is a shame the rest of the card is rather weak on paper.
IPI Tingub Gym, Mandaue City, Cebu, Philippines
As well as the card in Japan we have more action across Asia with shows in the Philippines and Korea. Of those shows it's the Filipino show which is the much more interesting and features a number of very notable fighters.
The main event here will see the once beaten Pete Apolinar (14-1, 8) battle against the regularly entertaining Jess Rhey Waminal (14-3-1, 8) in a bout for the OPBF Silver Featherweight title. Coming in to this both men are 26, but that's almost where the similarities end. Apolinar has been busy over the last 12 months, with 3 fights since October 2020, and has put his sole loss well behind him, winning his last 9. Waminal on the other hand hasn't fought since November 2019 and has lost 2 of his last 5. Regardless Waminal is a live opponent and will be here looking for the win.
In a truly fantastic match up we'll see Mark Vicelles (13-0-1, 7) take on Jerven Mama (12-0-1, 7) in a fantastic bout between unbeaten fighters. This is almost as good as it gets for All-Filipino bouts. The 25 year old Vicelles is world ranked and is looking to build on two wins in the last 12 months, but the southpaw is certainly not going to have things all his own way here. Aged 24 Mama is the slightly younger man and the slightly taller man, but will need to rely on more than those two small advantages. We genuinely wouldn't be surprised if this stole the show here.
In a likely mismatch we'll see the fringe world class Christian Araneta (19-2, 15) take on veteran puncher Richard Claveras (19-7-2, 16). On paper this isn't an awful match up, but it's hard to imagine Araneta losing. In fact it seems to be a clever bit of match making to get Araneta a win after his controversial decision loss to Sivenathi Nontshinga back in April. Claveras has the power and aggression to make this interesting, if he lands, but that's a big if.
On paper we're also set to get a mismatch between Tomjune Mangubat (13-2-1, 11) and Ernie Sanchez (19-15-1, 10), however this might be a lot tougher than it looks on paper. Sanchez, at his best, is a very upset minded fighter, with under-rated power, very high level experience, and the ability to take out opponents if they make a mistake. Mangubat should be favoured, but he'll need to make sure not to take liberties with Sanchez, or he could be made to pay.
Urdaneta Cultural Sports Complex, Urdaneta City, Pangasinan, Philippines
A second Filipino card will be coming from Urdaneta City, and this is a much less interesting event than the one in Cebu.
The star of the card here is the unbeaten Charly Suarez (6-0, 5), who will be expected to pick up an easy win as he takes on the limited, but experienced, Eduardo Mancito (18-11-2, 9). Suarez is one of the best natural talented in the Philippines, but the 32 year old now needs to step up, massively, and sadly for him it seems unlikely he'll be able to get the competition he needs to have a genuinely meaningful somewhere down the line. Mancito is a good, solid stalwart of Filipino boxing, but should be very clearly out of his depth here.
Another noteworthy name on this card is the upset minded, and heavy handed, Jhunriel Ramonal (17-8-6, 10), who looks set to shake some ring rust as he takes on the very limited Landy Cris Leon (13-22-5, 6). Sadly for Ramonal, who had such much momentum at the end of 2019, his career hit a brick wall due to the Covid19 pandemic and he's not fought since scoring a brutal KO win over Yusaku Kuga at the very end of 2019. He should pick up an easy win here, though we suspect he might want to get a few rounds before taking Leon out.
DND Boxing Gymnasium, Hwaseong, South Korea
On a KBM show in Hwaseong we'll see an international title fight as Min Ho Jung (10-3-2, 1) clashes with Hwang Kook Je (6-2-2, 2) in a bout for the WBC Asian Boxing Council silver Welterweight title, which is currently vacant. Coming in to this the 27 year old Jung will be the favourite, given his better record and the fact he's the slightly bigger man, but he's lost 2 of his last 3 and is really struggling for form coming in to this one. Je on the other hand has stopped two of his last 3 and was more active in 2020. Although this isn't for a major title the bout is still a pretty interesting one and should provide great entertaining for fans at the DND Boxing Gymnasium
Songwon University, Nam-Gu, Gwangju, South Korea
The card in Hwaseong isn't the only one in Korea this Saturday as we'll also be getting action from Gwangju, thanks to KBA who show case one of the most exciting talents in Korea in what appears to be a mismatch.
The exciting local headlining the event is the unbeaten Jong Seon Kang (12-0-2, 6), who will be facing John Ray Logatiman (6-9-2, 2), who is a late replacement on this show. Originally Kang was supposed to defend his WBO Oriental Featherweight title but his original opponent was injured and has had to be replaced.
As well as the chance to see Kang we'll also see Jung Woo Kim (4-3-1, 2) defending his KBA Welterweight title in the co-feature bout.
We were expecting this Saturday to be a huge one for Asian boxing, though sadly it's not gone ahead without a hiccup. A card planned for Korakuen Hall has been postponed, from May 1st to May 19th, due to the current State of Emergency in Tokyo, and a show planned to take place in Thailand has been postponed to June 5th. Despite that the day is certainly still onw with stuff to talk about.
London, United Kingdom
The biggest bout of the day takes place in London as WBA Light Heavyweight "super" champion Dmitry Bivol (17-0, 11) defends his title against Craig Richards (16-1-1, 9), in what looks like a massive leap up in clash for the British national champion. Bivol, born in Kyrgyzstan though fighting out of Russia, is one of the most talented and proven fighters at 175lbs, but also one of the most frustrating and someone who has gained a reputation for having a lot of skills but an unwillingness to take risks. In Richards we have a man we expect to look very much out of his depth, but put up a game effort in what could be a rather ugly and messy fight. Despite not being the most attractive match up style wise, it is great to see Bivol back in the ring after more than a year of inactivity. Our full preview of this bout can be read here WBA "Super" Champion Bivol faces Richards in the UK!
Urdaneta Cultural Center, Urdaneta City, Dangasinan, Philippines
In the Philippines we're set to get a show that was originally scheduled to take place on April 24th but was then delayed. Sadly despite the delay it is still very much a show of mismatches.
One of the notable fighters on this card is former amateur standout Charly Suarez (5-0, 4), who had been tipped as a future force for Filipino boxing when he turned professional. The now 32 year old Suarez turned professional disappointingly late and now, in his 6th bout, is taking on regional journeyman Pablito Canada (7-18-4, 1), who was replaced Suarez's originally planned opponent of Lorence Rosas (9-5-2, 3). We know that Filipino fighters, like Japanese fighters, are limited right now due to travel issues brought on by covid19 but in reality Canada, even as a late replacement, is a poor choice of opponent, and he shouldn't really force Suarez to break a sweat. Canada has gone 1-7-1 in his last 9 and will almost certainly pick up another loss here to the frustrating but talented Suarez.
In a potentially better match up the under-rated Richard Pumicpic (21-11-2, 6), who is much, much better than his record suggests, will take on Landy Cris Leon (13-21-5, 6). We like Pumicpic, a lot, and his record really doesn't tell the tale of his ability or his career. Coming in Pumicpic has lost his last 3, but we're expecting a very decisive performance here against the very limited Leon.
CWE Academy, Jalandhar, India
There is also set to be a small show in India, though we wouldn't be surprised if this was postponed given what is currently happening in the country.
The planned main event here would see unbeaten men collide, with Pawan Goyat (3-0) and Sachin Nautiyal (4-0, 3) facing off in a 6 rounder in the Light Middleweight division. Goyat made an impressive in 2016, but has been horribly inactive since then, and it's hard to know what his ambitions for the sport are. Nautiya on the other hand is 19 and will be up against his first fighter with a win. Hard to read much into this one, but still it is good to see Indian boxing look up, after some stellar results in recent amateur competitions.
Another unbeaten fighter on this card worthy of some attention is popular female fighter Asha Roka (3-0, 1), who looks for her 4th win in professional boxing as she takes on the win-less Madhu Rani (0-3). Although her boxing career is still in it's infancy Roka does have a growing fanbase, and the potential to be one of the key Indian female professional stars, though does need stiffer competition in the near future. Sadly this is not likely to be a test for her. As for Rani, at least we can say she's active and this will be her 4th professional bout since November 2020. Unfortunately she's lost the previous 3 and will be expected to lose this one as well.
April 24th - World and Regional title fights in Japan, world title eliminator in South Africa and more!
This coming Saturday is set to be a hectic day, with two notable Japanese shows, a world title eliminator in South Africa and a show in the Philippines featuring several noteworthy fighters.
EDION Arena Osaka, Osaka, Osaka, Japan
The most notable card comes from Osaka and is a lovely mix of everything Japanese boxing has to offer. It has a world title bout in the main event, a brilliant domestic bout in the co-feature role and several talented prospects in tough bouts through the card.
The main event will see WBC Light Flyweight champion Kenshiro Teraji (17-0, 10) look to record his latest defense as he faces Japanese veteran Tetsuya Hisada (34-10-2, 20), in a bout that has a surprising amount of history behind it. The two men were originally scheduled to fight in 2017, before Kenshiro vacated the Japanese title and went on to fight for the WBC belt. They were also scheduled to fight in 2020, before legal issues scuppered the bout. Of the two men Kenshiro is the more well known and the more proven, with this being his 8th defense, but the highly experienced Hisada is a very capable fighter, who gave Hiroto Kyoguchi a tough test in 2019 and will know that this is his last chance at a world title. We expect this one to be a brilliant bout between a strong, aggressive, veteran and a talented and intelligent champion. A genuinely fantastic match up. Our in depth preview of this can be read here 4 years in the making - Kenshiro Teraji Vs Tetsuya Hisada
The co-feature for this show will see talented teenage hopeful Ayumu Hanada (5-0, 4) take on the huge punching Mammoth Kazunori (6-3-1, 6) in a 6 round bout between the Flyweight and Super Flyweight limits. Hanada began his career in Mexico before moving back to Japan last year and he made his JBC debut late last year in a very impressive performance. He's very young, but lives up to the "Flaco" nickname, with an aggressive, exciting and explosive style. Talking about explosive however Kazunori is one of the heaviest handed fighters in Japan, and if he catches an opponent clean he can wipe some one out. This is a very dangerous bout for Hanada, but a win here will likely lead him to a potential bout with a Japanese ranked opponent next time out.
Another prospect on this card is Kantaro Juri (2-0, 1), who looks to score his third win as he takes on the light punching Toma Kondo (8-6-1, 1). The 24 year old Juri is a talented southpaw, who has a lot of promise and showed a lot of ability as an amateur, but is yet to show what he can really do as a professional. Fingers crossed we see him put together a better performance here than we've seen from him so far. Kondo is no world beater, but he is much better than his record suggests and 4 of his 6 losses have been by split decision. He's coming in to this on the back of a minor high, as he he surprisingly held Yuki Nakajima to a draw in December, and will feel like he can build on that result here.
One other bout that deserves a bit of attention is a match up between Daiki Asai (0-1) and Yu Konomura (10-9-2, 4). Asai lost his debut, last year, to Kyonosuke Kameda, but showed a lot as an amateur and clearly has some tools in his arsenal that could see him in some interesting bouts over the next few years. Konomura is a win some-lose some, type of fighter, but has began to find his self belief and power, scoring his last 3 wins by stoppage, and we suspect he'll come in to this confident that he can get another KO. Both of these guys are better than their records suggest, and they could end up giving a genuine treat deep on the under-card of this show.
Convention Center, Ginowan, Okinawa, Japan
A second Japanese card, which will be aired live in Okinawa and be shown on tape delay in Tokyo, will be a card that has a very easy to over-look main event, and a solid prospect on the under-card. It's not as interesting, or as big as the Osaka card, but is a show worthy of attention.
The main event here will see former WBC Flyweight champion Daigo Higa (17-1-1, 17) look to score his first defense of the WBO Asia Pacific Bantamweight title, as he takes on the unbeaten Ryosuke Nishida (3-0, 1). Higa won the title in impressive fashion last December, when he stopped Yuki Strong Kobayashi, but hasn't looked the most convincing since his forced move to Bantamweight. He is certainly heavy handed and very exciting, but we do wonder whether he has the natural size to compete against the better fighters in the division. For Nishida this is a massive step up, but he has impressed since turning professional, and he looked a real talent last time out, when he beat Shohei Omori. He has the style and size to neutralise Higa, and if he can put a complete performance together here he could upset the local hero. Our in depth preview of this one can be read here Higa returns to Okinawa to take on unheralded Nishida!
Higa's once beaten stablemate Ryuto Owan (6-1, 4) will also be on this show, as he takes on the tough and rugged Takafumi Iwaya (4-4). Owan won his first 5 bouts before losing in 2018, in a Japanese Youth title bout. Following that loss he disappeared for a couple of years before returning last year with a win over Tomoya Kishine and he looked really good in that win. Iwaya isn't a particularly well known fighter, but he is insanely tough and last year we saw him take a battering at the hands of the brilliant Rentaro Kimura, before finally being stopped in round 5. He's very limited but there is no doubting his toughness and he will be a potential nightmare for Owan here. Owan should have the tools to win, but he will have to work hard against one of the toughest men in the sport.
Suamlum Night Bazaar, Ratchadaphisek, Bangkok
Over in Thailand we get the next show from TL Promotions and it's one with a very peculiar main event.
That main event will see former Welterweight contender Teerachai Sithmorseng (44-1, 31) clash with former Bantamweight and Super Featherweight champion Sirimongkhon Iamthuam (97-5, 62), with the bout taking place all the way up at Light Heavyweight. The bout will be for Teerachai's WBA Asia title and it's fair to say that neither man will look in their best physical shape and condition.
The show will also feature the third professional boxing contest of Nonthasith Petchnamthong (2-0) who will be defending his WBA Asia Bantamweight title , as he takes on Suradech Ruhasiri (6-2, 5). Nonthasith is a top Muay Thai fighter who has been solid since turning to professional, and should be far, far too good for his Thai foe here. Though sadly Nonthasith has shown little power in professional boxing gloves, and it's going to be interesting to see whether or not he can stop his limited foe here.
2nd Floor, Mega Mart Burgos Poblacion Norte, Paniqui, Tarlac, Philippines
In the Philippines we're set to get a show that is rather disappointing overall, but one that does feature several fighters of note. Sadly however as with many Filipino shows it has the look of "mismatch city".
One of the notable fighters on this card is former amateur standout Charly Suarez (5-0, 4), who had been tipped as a future force for Filipino boxing when he turned professional. The now 32 year old Suarez turned professional disappointingly late and now, in his 6th bout, is taking on regional journeyman Lorence Rosas (9-5-2, 3). We know that Filipino fighters, like Japanese fighters, are limited right now due to travel issues brought on by covid19 but in reality Rosas is a poor choice of opponent, and he shouldn't really force Suarez to break a sweat. Rosas has lost his last 4, last fought in 2019, as a Super Bantamweight, and offers very little to test Suarez with.
In a potentially better match up the under-rated Richard Pumicpic (21-11-2, 6), who is much, much better than his record suggests, will take on Landy Cris Leon (13-21-5, 6). Although Pumicpic's record is underwhelming he's a real nightmare to fight and has given the likes of Ryosuke Iwasa, Cesar Juarez and Musashi Mori fits. He record might not show it, but he is a legitimate handful at the Oriental title level and shouldn't be over-looked, even with 11 losses to his name. Leon on the other hand has gone from once being a decent regional journeyman to a man who has started to collect losses bout after bout after bout. This should be an easy win for Pumicpic, but given he's lost his last 3 we won't complain too much. He deserves an easy one if we're being honest.
Gqeberha, Eastern Cape, South Africa
Outside of Japan the most significant bout of the day comes from South Africa, where once beaten Filipino Christian Araneta (19-1, 15) takes on hard hitting South African prospect Sivenathi Nontshinga (9-0, 9), in what is an IBF world title eliminator at 108lbs. The talented Araneta suffered his only loss in 2019, when an arm injury forced him to retire against Daniel Valladares, in what was a fantastic though disappointingly short bout. Since that loss he has notched 2 domestic wins and appears hungry to make a statement. Nontshinga on the other hand is somewhat unknown outside of South Africa but has got notable wins over Siyabonga Siyo and Ivan Soriano. Interestingly he did go 7 rounds before stopping Muhsin Kizota in 2018, the same Kizota who looked clueless recently against Hasanboy Dusmatov, and there maybe is some doubt about how good he really is. The winner of this will be right in the mix and may well end up getting a shot at Felix Alvarado later in the year. This is easy to over-look but could be the bout that steals the weekend.
Universum Gym, Hamburg, Hamburg, Germany
Over in Germany we'll see unbeaten German based Thai Phannarai Netisri (7-0, 4) fight for a WBC Youth title. Sadly her opponent, at the time of writing, is yet to be announced as her original opponent appears to have been pulled out of the contest due to some nasty injuries suffered in their last bout. "Fai" is a really exciting young fighter at just 20 years old, and it's going to be very interesting to see how she develops from here
GK Ekaterininskiy, Krasnodar, Russia
As well as everything we've already mentioned there is also set to be an appearance from rising Uzbek hopeful Ulugbek Qayumboev (4-0, 4), who will be looking for his 5th straight early win as he takes on a yet to be named opponent. The 20 year old Qayumboev, who fights around the Lightweight division, debuted last year and has been blowing out very low level competition so far. Fingers crossed we see him stepping up later this year, though sadly this bout doesn't seem like to be much of an upgrade given no opponent was named 7 days out.
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 Saturday is a really interesting day, without being a massive one. We get the kick off of a special Japanese tournament, a Japanese Youth title bout a regional title bout in Thailand and more in what is a busy, yet low key, day.
The main show is the Knock Out Dynamite Tournament show which takes place at the Korakuen Hall thanks to Reason Promotions along with Floyd Mayweather's Japanese TMT arm, and former Japanese world champion Takashi Uchiyama.
For those who haven't followed the news the Knock Out Dynamite tournament is actually 3 tournaments, each with 4 men involved, and will take place at 65KG's, 60KG's and 56KG's, as opposed to the more standard boxing weight classes. Their are cash prizes available for the winners with bonuses for any knockouts.
One of the 65KG weight class will see semi-finals take place between Mongolian fighter Byambatsogt Tuguldur (0-0) and Japanese veteran Shusaku Fujinaka (16-11-2, 11), in what looks like a mismatch on paper. It's hard to say much about the Mongolian, though Tuguldur could be a a genuine dark horse, given the reputation Mongolian fighters have for being tough, hard hitting and very exciting.
The winner of that semi-final will take on the winner of the other semi-final, which will pit Vladimir Baez (25-5-2, 23) against Tatsuya Miyazaki (9-12-1, 9). As with the other semi-final isn't doesn't look the most competitive of bouts, but Baez has struggled recently, with 2 losses in his last 3, and it's possible that Miyazaki could be getting him when his confidence is low. The reality, however, is that Baez will be too good and too powerful for Miyazaki here.
The 60KG tournament will see another seemingly debuting Mongolian in action with Tsendsuren Bat-Ireedui (0-0) set to take on veteran Ribo Takahata (15-8-1, 6) in one of the semi-final bouts. Aged 40 Takahata is coming to the end of his career, but is only 2 years removed from a Japanese title fight with Masaru Sueyoshi and is certainly not a fighter who is still solid despite his age. From what we could find the Mongolian has fought in MMA, but we've struggled to find any sign of a previous boxing career.
The winner in the Takahata Vs Bat-Ireedui fight will face the winner of a bout between Koichi Ito (11-7-3, 10) and Filipino Marvin Esquierdo (14-2-1-1, 8). This looks like one of the better semi final bouts on paper, and one where the visitor has a good chance of picking up the upset. Ito has scored just 1 win in his last 6, going 1-4-1, and that dates back over 4 years. He is however coming back after almost 18 months out, we expect to see him being reinvigorated by the break. The 24 year old Esquierdo is relatively unknown but has momentum, activity and youth on his side.
The 56KG division is really the most interesting, at least if we get the final we're expecting. In one semi-final we'll see the very talented promising Yuki Yamauchi (3-0, 2) taking on the experienced Ryuta Wakamatsu (12-14-1, 9). The 24 year old Yamauchi is a real talent and whilst this is a genuine step up in class he has shown what he can do against Filipino fighters like Alvin Medura and Claudevan Sese. For he's the hidden gem of this tournament. Wakamtsu on the other hand is a 35 year old veteran who has been around the Japanese scene for a decade, with very mixed success. Wakamatsu is better than his record suggests, but we'd be shocked to see him over-come Yamauchi.
This division has a second unbeaten man in it, with former Rookie of the Year winner Ren Sasaki (9-0, 6) taking on the more experienced Morihisa Iju (11-4, 9). When he won the Rookie of the Year back in 2017 Sasaki showed so much promise, and whilst that promise hasn't yet been realised it's clear he can go a long way, and we fancy him to get past Iju and set up a final with Yamauchi. Despite being the under-dog Iju is a very live fighter here and even with 3 losses in his last 4 he is a potential banana skin if Sasaki tries to look past him
A second Japanese show is set to take place in Hyogo, and whilst this is a less significant show than the other, it does have the bout of the day on it, with a mouth watering Japanese Youth Super Flyweight title bout.
That title fight sees unbeaten men clash as former Rookie of the Year winner Tetsuro Ohashi (7-0-1, 2) takes on former amateur standout Suzumi Takayama (2-0, 2). The title is vacant, but this is a great bout to fill that vacancy and pits a skill fighter against an aggressive fighter. Ohashi has barely lost a round during his 8 fight career, and whilst he does lack power there is a lot of skill and IQ behind what he does. Takayama hasn't yet face a Japanese opponent, but looks like he could go through most of the Japanese scene quickly, so don't be surprised it Watanabe strap a jet to him if he comes through this with his unbeaten record intact. Our full preview of this bout is available to read here Ohashi and Takayama battle for Japanese Youth title!
As well as the title bout we'll also see Shohei Kawashima (17-3-2, 4) fight in what looks like a stay busy bout against Masajiro Honda (6-11, 4). The talented Kawashima won the Rookie of the Year in 2014, and has shown real promise, though has twice lost close decisions on the road, losing narrowly to Cristian Mijares and Juan Miguel Elorde. We see this as being little more than a work out for Kawashima who really does deserve so much more in terms of competition than Honda, who has been stopped in each of his last 6 bouts.
Bang Phun, Thailand
As well as the action in Japan there is also some interesting action in Thailand, as the Work Point Studio plays host to another card.
The headline bout here will see Chainoi Worawut (7-0-1, 7) take on Filipino foe Alvin Medura (9-4, 7), with the unbeaten local for the vacant WBC Asian Boxing Council Super Bantamweight title. The local, also known as Thattana Luangphon, is a very promising 22 year old who is rising through the ranks and looks likely to be one of the nations big stars of the future. Medura isn't a terrible fight, but shouldn't be much of a test for the Thai, who appears to be getting matched progressively harder. This should be a test for the unbeaten puncher, but a test he passes without too many issues.
In a supporting bout on this card teenage Super Flyweights clash, with Danai Ngiabphukhiaw (2-1, 1) and Yodtanong Chaepet (2-0, 1) facing off in a 6 rounder, we believe as part of a Work Point Super Flyweight tournament.
In Cebu we get a small Filipino card, featuring two men men who are each looking to take a step towards a bigger fight.
One of those men is Clyde Azarcon (15-3-1, 5), who will be looking to bounce back from his first round loss to Ginjiro Shigeoka earlier this year. The loss to Shigeoka was from a brutal body shot and we fully understand why Azarcon has been matched softly here, as he takes on Garry Rojo (9-13-1, 5) in what should be a straight forward win.
The other is the under-rated Carlo Demecillo (13-5-1, 6), who is riding a 4 fight unbeaten run since a loss to Ruben Manakane in Indonesia. Although he's yet to get a big win he did come close to get a career best victory last Novemeber, when he drew with Arthur Villanueva, and it's clear he can take the next step up. Here he's up against Jonathan Francisco (10-12-1, 4) and this should be little more than a simple win for the talented Demecillo.
Staying in Asia there will also be a card in Vietnam, thanks to Victory 8.
The main event will be a WBA East Asia title bout between local novice professional Dinh Hoang Truong (1-0, 1) and South Korean visitor Gyu Hyun Lee (2-4-1). It's hard to get too excited about this bout, though we are looking forward to seeing Filipino hopeful Charly Suarez (3-0, 3), who goes up against a local opponent.
Christchurch, New Zealand
One other bout featuring a fighter from Asia takes place in New Zealand where once beaten local Bowyn Morgan (20-1, 10) takes on Filipino visitor Nelson Tinampay (14-7-1, 6) for the WBU Welterweight title. Whilst Morgan is no world beater, and his competition hasn't been amazing so far, he has notched some notable wins over the likes of Gunnar Jackson and Jack Asis. On the other hand Tinampay is very limited and was stopped 44 year old Yong Soo Choi in 2017, and has been stopped 3 times since then. This should be an early win for the local.
This weekend is a big one for fans of Asian boxing! The biggest show comes from Aichi on Saturday but that's not all we have, with notable action in the Philippines, Puerto Rico and Russia!
The big card in Aichi, will be headlined by a world title fight, and will have support bouts featuring a fast rising local prospect and a former world title challenger. It's not a monster card, but it is a very good one.
The main event will see 3-weight world champion Kosei Tanaka (13-0, 7) defending the WBO Flyweight title against mandatory challenger Jonathan Gonzalez (22-2-1, 13). For Tanaka this will be his second defense of the title he took from Sho Kimura last year, and sees him looking to build on his win over Ryoichi Taguchi earlier this year. For Gonzalez this will be his first world title fight, and finally a chance for him to live up to the potential he showed as an amateur. This should be a really high speed and very technical bout, but the champion will clearly be the favourite. Interestingly if Tanaka wins there are murmurs he could be set for another step up in weight and another world title. Our preview of this world title bout can be read here Tanaka returns for next defense, faces "Bomba" Gonzalez
In an excellent supporting bout we'll see the hard hitting and wonderfully exciting Kento Hatanaka (9-0, 9) take on world ranked Filipino fighter Jaysever Abcede (19-8, 12). The unbeaten Hatanaka has needed just 32 rounds to get to 9-0 and already looks like he's a star in the making with major titles clearly in his future. On paper Abcede should be a straight forward step up for Hatanaka hwever the Filipino is no push over and he has regularly proven to be a banana skin, with upset wins against the likes of Pigmy Kokietgym, Stamp Kiatniwat and Seigo Yuri Akui. This should be a really good test for Hatanaka. Our preview of this bout can be read here Hatanaka steps up in class for Abcede test!
Another notable name in a supporting role is former world title challenger Genesis Servania (32-2, 15), who will be fighting for the first time since he lost to Carlos Castro back in February. The talented Japanese based Filipino is getting a clear confidence builder here as he takes on limited Indonesian foe Erick Deztroyer (12-5-1, 3), in a clear mismatch. Don't be surprised if this one ends very early!
A much more interesting match up on this card will see the limited but hard hitting Kanta Fukui (6-2, 5) take on the very talented and promising Shuma Nakazato (8-1-2, 6). Fukui came runner up in the West Japan Rookie of the Year last year, losing a razor thin decision to Takuya Ota in the final. Since then he has bounced back with a single win, but will be stepping up massively here. The 22 year old Nakazato is genuine talent, and someone who should be on the radar of hardcore Japanese. He's the son of former world title challenger Shigeru Nakazato, and has already held his own with Hironori Mishiro, losing a competitive decision to the current OPBF champion and beaten Lorence Rosas. Although in the middle of the card this is a very interesting match up, and one that could end in explosive fashion.
Also on this card will be Japanese Youth Super Flyweight champion Yuto Nakamura (10-5, 7) who battles in an 8 round bout against Indonesian Muhammad Wahid (4-2, 1). Wahid impressed us, in some ways, this past May when he stood and took a 6 round pounding from Lap Cheon Cheong in Hong Kong, and he showed his bravery. We suspect that Wahid will again have to be brave, but can't see him lasting 8 round here.
Metro Manila, Philippines
Staying in Asia we also get a notable card in Metro Manila, featuring a great mix of fighters from world class to prospect level.
The world title bout, or rather the WBO "interim" world title bout, will see John Riel Casimero (27-4, 18) defend his Interim Bantamweight title against the limited Cesar Ramirez (18-3, 11). The talented Casimero, a true road warrior, won the title in April and will be looking to make his first defense here. Ramirez is yet to prove he belongs any where near world level, especially in this talent stacked division that we currently have. Although can blow hot and cold, it's hard to imagine him really being tested here. Our preview of this bout is available to read here Casimero set to face Ramirez in first interim title defense
In a pretty interest all Filipino bout between regional contender types we'll see Vincent Astrolabio (13-3, 9) take on Kevin Aseniero (9-2-1, 5). Astrolabio will be defending the WBO Oriental Bantamweight title, which he won in Indonesian back in April, for the first time. Aserniero on the other hand will be looking to stretch a 4 fight unbeaten run.
The most notable prospect on this card is former amateur standout Charly Suarez (2-0, 2), who takes a big step up in class to face the under-rated Virgil Puton (17-12-2, 8). The 30 year old Suarez, who made his debut in January, will be looking to get his career back on track after a 5 month break from action. He's incredibly talented, but doesn't have time to waste. In Puton we have a true regional journeyman, who picks up losses, but pushes good fighters, such as Ye Joon Kim and Shuya Masaki. This is a tough test for Suarez, but one he must pass if he's to make any noise at all in the pro ranks.
Amazing we'll have a third world title fight, with WBO Minimumweight champion Vic Saludar (19-3, 10) making his second defense as he takes on mandatory challenger Wilfredo Mendez (13-1, 5) in Puerto Rico. The under-rated champion, who won the belt in July 2018, was successful this past February when he beat Masataka Taniguchi in his first defense and now fights outside of Asia for the first time. Although not a major global name Saludar is very talented, heavy handed and has under-rated boxing skills. For Mendez this will be his first world title fight, and it looks like a massive step up in class for the talented, though rather negative, Puerto Rican hopeful. This could be a very interesting clash of styles, though will of course be over-shadowed by the other world title bouts earlier in the day. Our full preview of this bout can be read here Vic Saludar and Wilfredo Mendez clash for WBO title!
In Russia we get a pretty big card headlined by Sergey Kovalev and Anthony Yarde. Although that bout doesn't have an Asian interest the under-card does, and it has quite a few in fact with several different bouts featuring an unbeaten Central Asian fighter.
Arguably the most interesting of the Central Asian hopefuls on this card is the always fun to watch Akzhol Sulaimanbek Uulu (14-0, 7) defending his WBA Asia Super Featherweight title. Originally he was pencilled in to face off with Sibusiso Zingange (13-3-2, 3), though Zingange was removed from the bout and at the time of writing, his replacement hasn't been named. Uulu, whilst flawed, would have been strongly favoured to beat the South African.
Another really interesting bout will see Uzbek Super Middleweight Azizbek Abdugofurov (12-0, 4) risk his WBC Silver title against once beaten Russian Andrey Sirotkin (16-1, 5). The talented Uzbek has been out of the ring since beating Wuzhati Nuerlang last November, and has lost much of the early momentum his career once had. Despite that he will be favoured over the 34 year old Sirotkin, who is best known for being stopped last October by John Ryder in the UK.
Unbeaten Kyrgyzstan born Russian based Erzhan Turgumbekov (6-0-1, 2) looks to bounce back from a draw against Javokhirbek Karimov just a few weeks ago, as he takes on unbeaten Ukrainian teenager Heorhii Lashko (9-0, 5). The unbeaten Turgumbekov rushed to 6-0 in just over 13 months but the draw last time out certainly slowed his momentum. Lashko on the other hand scored his biggest win in March, when he beat Ryo Takenaka in China, and will be looking for his 5th win of the year here. Takenaka aside there is little on his record of any note at all.
Kazakh Meiirim Nursultanov (11-0, 8) will also be looking to extend his unbeaten record as he takes on the once beaten Artur Osipov (15-1, 10). The 26 year old Kazakh, who is managed by Egis Klimas, has been out of the ring since beating Luis Hernanez in March, and will be looking to impress on what will be his first bout outside of the US in close to 2 years. Osipov on the other hand is coming in to this bout after a loss in March to Evgeny Terentiev, and will likely be low on confidence, for what looks like his toughest bout so far, on paper.
Another bout on this Russian card worthy of interest ins a contest between Aleksei Papin (11-0, 10) and Ilunga Makabu (25-2, 24) in what is a must watch bout on paper, promising a lot of explosive fireworks and a real feeling that this one will not see the final bell. A full preview of this bout is available here Dynamite meets TNT as Papin and Makuba clash!
Davao del Norte, Philippines
Thsi coming Saturday our attention turns to the Philippines where we see a number of notable fighters featuring on a hot of notable names, including 3 former amateur standouts.
One of the main bouts on this card will see 27 year old Mark Anthony Geraldo (37-9-3, 18) battle against Neil John Tabanao (17-5, 11) in a battle for the GAB Super Bantamweight title. Geraldo will be making his first defense of the title, and despite only being 27 this will be his 50th professional bout. Tabanao comes into this bout on the back of a loss to Angelo Leo, in the US in April, but had won his previous 4 and is 14-1 in the Philippines. This could be a very competitive contest.
The most notable of the amateur fighters on this show is Charlie Suarez (2-0, 2), who takes a notable step up in class to take on Indonesian journeyman Waldo Sabu (13-14, 3) in a bout for the interim WBC Asian Boxing Council Super Featherweight title. The 30 year old Suarez really does need to look good in a bout like this to push his career along, as he is simply too old to waste time, and we're glad this is his 3rd bout in 4 months. Hopefully a win here will be followed by something more meaningful in the near future. Sabu scored a shock win last time he was in the Philippines, but has since suffered back to back losses and is 3-8 in his last 11.
The under-rated Joey Canoy (14-3-1, 7) will be looking to pick up a couple of low level regional titles as he takes on Frans Damur Palue (15-22-3, 10), from Indonesia. The talented Canoy is a real talent and is expected to go far with his career. This bout will be for the WBA Asia and WBC Asian Boxing Council silver Minimumweight titles, and we can't help but think that Canoy will make light work of Palue and begin to target more meaningful titles in the near future.
As well as Saurez fans if the Filipino amateur scene will also be happy to heat that Criztian Pitt Laurente (1-0, 1) and Criz Russu Laurente (1-0,1 ), who are brothers, are scheduled for this show. Both were very good amateurs and both could be fast tracked, despite both only being teenagers. These are two super hot Filipino prospects to make a note of.
Davao del Norte, Philippines
Attention turns to Davao del Norte this Tuesday for a relatively low key card, with a few notable names involved. In total there will be 4 difference MinProBA title bouts.
On paper the most interesting bout will see youngsters clash as the once beaten James Francis Buray (7-1, 2) battle unbeaten Singaporean puncher Muhammad Ashiq (6-0, 5) in a bout for the MinProBA Super Featherweight title. This is a really interesting fight and we have been impressed by Ashiq so far, though this will be his toughest bout so far.
Another MinProBA title fight will see sensational former amateur stand out Charly Suarez (1-0, 1) take on fellow unbeaten Justin Cabarles (4-0, 2) for the Lightweight title. Given how good Suarez was an amateur, and he really was excellent, this bout seems a pretty interesting test, but one he could make look very easy. Cabarles, a 23 year old, struggled last time out and is taking on his most talented opponent so far, though he may manage to surprise us.
In a supporting bout the 23 year old Marvilo Aballe (7-1-2, 3) will be facing off with Rocky Sardido (8-22-5, 3), in another bout for a MinProBA Featherweight title. Despite a huge edge in experience Sardido is the much smaller man and has gone 1-14-2 in his last 17 bouts, showing what sort of form he's in. Aballe is far from unbeatable but shouldn't struggle against Sardido, who looks to be turning up happy to lose in recent years.
In a 10 round non-title bout the once very decent Glenn Porras (31-8, 19) will be taking on journeyman Ramel Antaran (3-12-1). Porras was genuinely a promising fighter once, but has lost 5 of his last 8, with KO losses last year, and it's hard to know what he has left. Antaran shouldn't ask many questions of Porras here, sadly.