This coming Sunday is a busy day in Asia with a trio of notable cards in Asia.
City Sogo Gym, Hirakata, Osaka, Japan
For us the most interesting of those cards is the Green Tsuda gym, that features a really nice mix of youngsters and notable names, along with the retirement ceremony of former Japanese Welterweight champion Ryota Yada (20-8, 17).
The most notable bout on the card is an all Japan contest between rising youngster Toshiki Shimomachi (14-1-2, 10) and the hard hitting Takuya Mizuno (17-3-1, 14). The talented Shimomachi is best known for winning the All Japan Rookie of the Year in 2017, and since then has gone on to win the Japanese Youth Bantamweight title and slowly move towards a bout for a senior title. He comes into this on the back of 5 stoppage wins, including ones against Hiroki Hanabusa and Jerry Castroverde. Mizuno on the other hand is a noted puncher, but has struggled recently, losing his last 2 bouts and is without a win in the last 3 years. If Mizuno has ambition he should give Shimomachi a genuinely test here, but it's hard to know what hunger he has after being out of the ring for almost 2 year.
Shimomachi's stable mate Jinki Maeda (9-0, 4), also a former All Japan Rookie of the Year winner, will be looking to continue his winning run as he takes on hard hitting Filipino Jhunriel Ramonal (17-10-6, 10), in a really tough step up bout. The talented Maeda is a very nice boxer-puncher, who has gone under the radar with fans outside of Japan, and he'll know that he needs to step up to make a buzz on the regional scene. On paper Ramonal shouldn't be a test, but records don't fight and Ramonal has proven to be a nasty puncher and a really dangerous fighter, with notable KO's against the likes of Yusaku Kuga and Shingo Wake. If Maeda isn't careful here he could well find himself on the receiving end of a shock KO.
At Welterweight we'll see the always entertaining Aso Ishiwaki (9-5-1, 7) take on hard hitting Thai visitor Achariya Boonmoh (12-0, 11). Although not the best fighter out there Ishiwaki is a very fan friendly warrior, with an aggressive style and a real will to win. He will however need to show some real resolve here as the 21 year old Boonmoh is a nasty puncher, who has stopped his last 11 foes, in a combined 31 rounds. Notably the Thai is stepping up, massively here and hasn't faced anyone of any real note, but will feel confidence given how he has been destroying opponents so far.
Another Thai puncher on this card is Sitthisak Simsri (12-0, 12), the younger brother of Thanongsak Simsri, who will be risking his WBA ranking against the once beaten Toshiki Kawamitsu (6-1, 3). The 20 year old Simsri has never faced anyone of any note so far, but has been taking out his limited opposition in quick fashion, with his bouts lasting less than 3 rounds on average. As for Kawamitsu, he has been inactive since being stopped in 2 rounds last year by Ginjiro Shigeoka, and it's hard to know what his hunger will be like, and what his confidence will be like against someone as hard hitting as Simsri.
The Flash Grand Ballroom of the Elorde Sports Complex, Paranaque City, Metro Manila, Philippines
The more notable of two Filipino cards comes from Metro Manila where we see a number of notable fighters in action.
The most notable bout on the card sees unbeaten hopeful Charly Suarez (11-0, 7) take on veteran Mark John Yap (30-16, 15), with Suarez looking to defend his WBA Asia Super Featherweight title. The unbeaten Suarez was touted for big things when he turned professional, but now aged 33 he really is running out of time if he's to land a major international fight. As for Yap he was once a very good Bantamweight, and a legitimate top level regional fighter. Now a days however it's hard to know what to expected from him and he is 1-4 in his last 5 dating back 4 years. He has lost his last 3 and we don't think moving to Super Featherweight will be a good move for him here.
In a really solid match up we'll see Al Toyogon (12-6-1, 8) take on Allan Villanueva (11-2, 8), in what is a pretty even looking match up. Toyogon has lost 4 of his last 6, but they include defeats to the likes of Ryo Sagawa, Shuya Masaki and Jorge Linares, and he has notched wins in his last 2 bouts. As for Villanueva he has lost his last 2, but they have come to very solid domestic opponents. The winner of this will claim the WBF Asia Pacific Lightweight title, a very low quality title, but something that both men will be fighting hard for, given their opportunities for bigger titles will be limited.
Another WBF title fight, this time for their International Minimumweight title, will see the criminally under-rated Lito Dante (18-11-4, 10) take on Clyde Azarcon (17-4-1, 6). On paper Azarcon should be the favourite here, but the 27 year old has a very padded record, and has been stopped in the opening round of 2 of his last 4 bouts. As for Dante his record is underwhelming in terms of numbers, but he has some very solid wins including a TKO over future world title challenger Tsubasa Koura. Over 10 rounds Dante is a total nightmare, and it's hard to imagine him losing here to Azarcon.
Sibonga, Cebu, Philippines
A second Filipino card will be held in Sibonga, where we see two notable bouts.
The most notable of the bouts on this card will see once beaten fighters collide, as April Jay Abne (9-1, 5) takes on Christian Bacolod (14-1, 10). For Abne the bout will see him look to score his third win since a shock December 2021 loss to Garen Diagan, and he will feel he has the tools to deal with Bacolod. As for Bacolod he has won two in a row since a hotly contest 2019 loss to Thanongsak Simsri, though they have come at a very low level and this is a notable step back up in class for him. This has a genuine 50-50 feel and is the type of bout we really want to see more of in the Philippines.
The other notable bout on this card will see Bryan James Wild (8-0, 6) look to continue his winning run, as he takes on limited veteran Mateo Handig (15-21, 9). Wild struggled past Jason Dogelio back in May and with that in mind it's little wonder he's facing someone who has no ambition or drive to win, such as Handig here. At his best Handig was a solid Minimumweight fighter, and he holds a controversial win over Katsunari Takayama, however since then he has gone 2-16-1 and moved through the weights with a complete lack of success
Toyota Center, Houston, Texas, USA
The most notable bout with an Asian fighter this coming Saturday takes place in the US in what is essentially a world title eliminator at 122lbs. The match up in question will see unbeaten American hopeful Ra'eese Aleem (19-0, 12) take on once beaten Filipino Mike Plania (26-1, 13) in what is a genuinely match watering match up. The 31 year old Aleem is incredibly fun to watch, and comes into whilst being regarded as a top 15, is not top 10, contender following notable wins over Vic Pasillas and Eduardo Baez. As for Plania he looked set for something big in 2020, when he beat Joshua Greer Jr, but has lost that momentum coming into this bout, and will know that he needs to perform like he did against Greer if he's going to reinject some much needed fire into his career. We expect this to be a barn burner, given the styles of the two men, but Plania will need to be at his very best to over-come Aleem.
World Trade Centre, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
As well as the major fight in the US we also get some pretty notable action in Dubai, with several notably prospects in action.
On paper the best of the bouts on the Dubai card will see unbeaten Filipino fighter Jayson Vayson (9-0-1-1, 5) take on exciting Indian fighter Nutlai Lalbiakkima (4-0, 4), in what could be a very special bout for the WBC Asian Boxing Council Continental Light Flyweight title. Vayson comes in to this on the back of a very controversial bout with Tibo Monabesa, which saw the WBC declare the bout a no-contest due to the controversial decision that went to Monabesa. He also holds a very notable draw against Rene Mark Cuarto. As for Lalbiakkima he comes into this having been a wrecking ball on the Indian scene, with his 4 wins so far coming in just 7 rounds. The winner of this won't get a world title fight immediately, but will certainly become one to watch.
Lalbiakkima isn't the only unbeaten Indian hopeful on this card, another is Laldingliana (3-0, 2), who also takes a step up in class as he battles Kazakh fighter Alimzhan Tursunov (4-1, 3), who was beaten last time out and has been out of the ring for around 18 months. Hard to say much about this one, given neither has really faced anyone of any note, but it should be a very interesting bout, and given it's scheduled for 8 we should see the two men needing to prove their stamina and resolve.
Another Indian fighter on this card is Manish Ahlawat (3-2-1, 2) who battled unbeaten Pakistani hopeful Muzafar Khan (9-0, 8). On paper this looks like an easy win for Khan, but his opponents so far have been absolutely awful, and this is the first time he's faced someone with more than 2 bouts to their name. As for Ahlawat he has lost his last 2, but has gone 6 rounds in those losses and will be desperate to get back to winning ways here.
One other bout worthy of some attention is a 6 Heavyweight bout pitting unbeaten American Norman Neely (12-0, 8) against Azeri novice Surat Garayev (1-0), who is taking a huge step up this early in his career. Neely has a nice looking record, but really hasn't beaten anyone of note, and is something of an untested fighter, which is disappointing for a 33 year old with 1 bouts. As for Garayev he debuted in December, beating a 5-0 fighter, and will be looking to record another win here and put himself on the fast track to facing a notable foe.
As well as the action in the US and in Dubai we also have action in the Philippines, with two shows in the country. One of those is in Masbate, with a mouth watering main event
That main event will see two unbeaten men collide, as Criztian Pitt Laurente (9-0, 6) takes on Richard Bulacan (8-0, 6), in what is a real test for both fighters. The 22 year old Laurente has long been tipped as one to watch by those who followed him in the amateurs, and whilst clearly talented he hasn't yet set the world on fire and a lot of his competition has been poor, Ernesto Saulong being the only real exception to that. As for Balucan he has scored a few solid, low key, wins such as beating Rimon Rama, Vergel Deguma and Anthony Sabalde. The winner of this really should be looking at a title fight later in the year, whilst the loser can certainly bounce back.
In a supporting bout we'll see Prince Andrew Laurio (11-3-1, 8) in action against Mark Jequinto (4-9-1). Laurio was once 10-0-1 but has struggled in recent years, going 1-3 in his last 4 and he will be looking to rebuild. It's hard to imagine Jequinto to put up much of a fight here given he has lost his last 4.
Kitaotao Gym, Kitaotao, Bukidnon, Philippines
The other Filipino show takes place in Bukidnon and is less interesting than the Masbate one.
One of the main bouts here will see Ryan James Racaza (11-0, 7) look to extend his unbeaten record as he takes on the very limited Romulo Ramayan Jr (7-18-5, 3). Typically this is a bout that we would complain about, but Racaza has been out of the ring since the end of 2019 and it's clear the focus is on him shaking some ring rust and getting back in to action. Ramayan on the other hand has only a single win in the last decade and has gone 1-12-4 in his last 17 bouts dating back around 10 years.
The only other bout worthy of some attention here will see the one beaten Christian Bacolod (13-1, 9) take on Jay R Tulinan (4-5, 2). Sadly Bacolod has been relatively inactive since his 2019 loss to Thanongsak Simsri, with just a single bout since that one, and this bout is about getting him some ring time, against someone who has lost their last 4 bouts. A bit of a nothing contest for a talented 27 year old hopeful.
Following a busy Saturday we get a pretty interesting Sunday, with 3 title fighters and a number of interesting match ups.
The most notable of the shows takes place in Osaka and will be promoted by Green Tsuda under their "Crash Boxing" banner.
The main event of the card will be a Japanese Super Flyweight title bout, as Takayuki Okumoto (23-8-4, 11) defends his title against former champion Kenta Nakagawa (17-3-1, 12). For Okumoto this will be his 4th defense of the title, and sees him looking to build on recent wins over Yuta Matsuo and and Dynamic Kenji. For Nakagawa the bout gives him a chance to reclaim the title he lost in 2017 to Ryuichi Funai. Since losing the title Nakagawa has scored 4 wins, but all at a much lower level than this bout, and at 34 years old he really cannot afford another set back. Our in depth preview of this bout is available here Japanese champion Okumoto takes on former champion Nakagawa in up coming defense
In the chief support bout we'll see bombs away as Yuki Beppu (20-1-1, 19) and former Japanese Welterweight champion Ryota Yada (19-5, 16) trade blows for the WBO Asia Pacific Welterweight title. Yada is less than 8 months removed from losing the Japanese title to Yuki Nagano, incidentally Nagano is the only man to beat Beppu, taking a decision over Beppu last year. Neither man is a world beater, but good fights don't need world beaters, they just need to be well matched and this one is! It's hard to imagine this one going the distance, but with both men being aggressive punchers it's very hard to predict who's going to end up victorious. Our preview of this bout can be read here The Kyushu Tyson takes on the Terminator of Naniwa for WBO Asia Pacific title!
Originally the plan was for this card to be a triple title show, but Toshiki Shimomachi (10-1-2, 6) was unable to secure an opponent to defend his JBC Youth Super Bantamweight title against. Instead of defending his title the talented Japanese youngster will go up against Indonesian teenager Jufry Kakahure (5-2, 5). Whilst it's disappointing to see Shimomachi not defend his title against a decent domestic foe we're glad he's still on the show.
In a really great fight we'll see Thai teenager Thanongsak Simsri (12-0, 11) take on world ranked Filipino Christian Bacolod (12-0, 9) in a truly fantastic match up. The Thai youngster is training alongside the Green Tsuda gym, and has been compared to Srisaket Sor Rungvisai in the Thai press. That's huge praise in a way, but also massive amounts of pressure for a 19 year old who only debuted in the summer of 2018. This is a huge step up for him and we will see him answering questions, win or lose. Bacolod on the other hand has slowly been climbing towards a big fight. He enters with a WBO world ranking and has stopped 4 of his last in the first 2 rounds. Despite Bacolod being the more proven fighter he was dropped twice in a recent fight and that will be major encouragement for Simsri.
Another interesting assignment for an unbeaten man will see Rei Nakajima (2-0) take on Thai veteran Patomsuk Pathompothong (39-11-1, 25), aka Komsan Polsan. This is a huge step up in class for Nakajima, but the Nobuhiro Ishida promoted professional novice is very highly regarded and it's clear that a win here will be a massive boost to hid fledgling career.
Staying in Osaka there will be another title fight, as the unbeaten Musashi Mori (10-0, 6) defends his WBO Asia Pacific Featherweight title against once beaten puncher Takuya Mizuno (17-1-1, 14), in a mouth watering bout. Mori has impressed though much of his career, and working with Ismael Salas will help him tidy up his defensively flaws, flaws that had shown themselves in his most notable bouts. Although Mori is working on his defense it's clear Salas won't want him to be too negative, and against Mizuno negativity could be a problem. Mizuno is technically pretty poor, and he can be out boxed, but he bangs and Mori shouldn't let him build up any confidence. We suspect the gulf in skills should be the difference, but Mizuno can certainly turn the fight around. Our preview of this bout can be read here Fast rising Mori takes on hard hitting Mizuno in next title defense
Sadly the rest of the card here is non-descript 4 rounders.
A third show will take place in Okinawa, where we see some pretty a couple of interesting, but lower level, bouts.
The main event of this card will see a clash between Japan's Tatsuro Nakashima (10-1-1, 7) Filipino visitor and Ariston Aton (9-1, 5). Nakashima has bounced back well from a 2018 loss to Kai Ishizawa with 3 straight wins, and looks to be heading in the ring direction. Similarly Aton has bounced back from his sole loss, with 2 low key wins. This is a low key main event, but a very interesting one between two men looking to continue the rebuilding success.
In a female bout we'll see Yuko Henzan (8-8-4, 2) clash with Gretel de Paz (5-5-2, 2). On paper this is a very competitive looking bout, and whilst the skill level will be low it should still make for an interesting 6 rounder.
Also on this card is the return of Marcus Smith (6-1-1, 6), who hasn't fought since losing a Japanese title eliminator in October 2018 to Koki Inoue. Smith was supposed to fight earlier this year but missed weight, and was subsequently suspended. His return sees him being matched softly as he battles Indonesian journeyman Hendy Luis (10-17-3, 5). Although Smith is no world beater he is heavy handed and will be expected to beat Luis, though Luis is a durable foe and has only been stopped 3 times in his 30 fight career. This could be a very good chance to Smith to shake some ring rust.
Outside of Japan there will also be a small show in Qingdao, China. The quality of this show is lacking, however the card will feature an interesting main event between Youli Dong (14-2-1, 9) and Larry Siwu (28-12, 34). We suspect the local fighter will have the youth and skills to deal with Siwu, but the Indonesian visitor should be a good test for the 24 year old local.
Attention turns to the Korakuen Hall once again this coming Saturday for a stacked Dangan card, with 4 very good bouts on it.
The main event of the show will see former Japanese Super Flyweight champion Ryuichi Funai (30-7, 21) take on Mexican youngster Victor Emanuel Olivo (15-2-1, 7) in an IBF Super Flyweight world title eliminator, with the winner moving towards a world tittle fight against Jerwin Ancajas. Funai has been on a good run since losing in a Japanese title fight to Sho Ishida way back in 2016. He claimed the Japanese title last year and the WBO Asia Pacific belt earlier this year, and he's actually 6-0 (5) since the loss to Ishida. When it comes to assessing Olivo's career things aren't that impressive, with his most notable result being a narrow loss to Milan Melindo back in 2015. Aged 22 Olivo is a fighter who is developing but he was beaten just 2 fights back by Jose Briegel Quirino, in what looks to have been a home town decision. Olivo is probably better than his record indicates, but this is still a big step up in class for the Mexican. We've a full preview of this bout here Funai and Olivo battle in world title eliminator!
The chief supporting bout will match once beaten fighters, as Shuya Masaki (10-1, 5) takes on recent OPBF title challenger Izuki Tomioka (5-1-1, 1). The talented Masaki was tipped for big things, but his rise through the ranks was slowed this past January, when he was out pointed by Hironori Mishiro. Masaki has bounced back since his loss, with a decision win over Korean Hyun Je Shin, but this is a big step back up since that loss. On the other hand the 21 year old Tomioka surprised the Japanese scene this year when he pushed OPBF Lightweight champion Masayoshi Nakatani very close in July, losing an 11th round TKO in a very competitive bout. Tomioka's biggest issue is his lack of power, but we wouldn't be surprised by him relying on his skills and picking up a career best win here.
Another mouth watering support bout will see Seiryu Toshikawa (10-4, 6) face off with the unbeaten Shawn Oda (9-0, 8) for the Japanese Youth Lightweight title. The more experienced man is 22 years old and debuted back in August 2014. He suffered a few early career set backs, losing 3 of his first 6, but has since gone 7-1 with a very notable win last time out against Ryuji Ikeda. On the hand Oda is a 20 year old with insane upside, as he showed when taking the 2016 Rookie of the Year crown at the age of 18. Oda hasn't been the busiest since his Rookie win, but has impressed, with 3 solid wins this year including a stoppage against Masashi Wakita in August. Oda is the more naturally gifted man, but this is likely to be his stiffest test to date. A preview of this bout is here Oda and Toshikawa battle for Lightweight youth crown!
A fourth major bout on this card will see 2017 Rookie of the Year Yuga Inoue (7-0-1, 1) take on the hard hitting Kai Ishizawa (4-0, 4) for the vacant Japanese youth Minimumweight title fight. The 19 year old Inoue, no relation to Naoya Inoue, really impressed last year before taking the Rookie crown in December against Retsu Akabane. Since that Rookie win Inoue has scored his only stoppage win, taking out Daisuke Sudo in 5 rounds this past May. As for the 21 year old Ishizawa he made his debut in June 2017 and has impressed ever since, scoring a huge win over Tatsuro Nakashima back in April. It should be noted that Ishizawa was supposed to fight for this title earlier in the year, against Daiki Tomita, but the bout was cancelled when Ishizawa suffered an injury, which he has now recovered from. Our in depth preview of this bout is here Ishizawa and Inoue battle for Japanese youth title!
As well as the stacked show in Japan there's also a notable card in the Philippines, headlined by former world title challengers facing off, and featuring several prospects in supporting bouts.
The main event will see Melvin Jerusalem (13-2, 8) battle against Toto Landero (10-3-2, 2). Both of these men have fought for world titles in recent years, with Jerusalem giving Wanehng Menayothin arguably the toughest bout of his career, in 2017, and Landero recently losing to Knockout CP Freshmart. The loser will have some serious rebuilding to do, but given that both men are still young that won't be a huge issue with the right mind set. The winner however will have taken a huge step towards getting a second shot at a world title. Our preview of this bout is here Jerusalem and Landero battle in brilliant all Filipino clash!
In one of the supporting bouts fans will see unbeaten 20 year old Esneth Domingo (10-0, 6) risk his unbeaten record against Reymark Taday (9-6-1, 4), in what could be a good test for the 20 year old Domingo. Another of the supporting bouts will see will see the unbeaten Christian Bacolod (9-0, 7) taking on fellow unbeaten Christoval Furog (5-0, 2) in what should be a compelling bout, though we do feel that Bacolod's power and extra experience will be the difference.
Lancashire, United Kingdom
The Funai bout isn't the only world title eliminator taking place as the UK plays host to a Lightweight world title eliminator between Indonesian warrior Daud Yordan (38-3-0-1, 26) and popular Englishman Anthony Crolla (33-6-3, 13), who will be hoping to take a step towards a WBA title shot. Yordan has been one of the few Indonesian fighters in recent years to make a mark internationally and his win earlier this year against Pavel Malikov was one of the best bouts of 2018. He is however up against here, with Crolla being a former WBA world champion and one of the best contenders in the division, with great stamina and under-rated skills. With a big reward for the winner we're expecting this to be a very exciting and action packed contest, with a lot of leather being thrown. We've previewed that bout here Yordan and Crolla set for a thriller...
New South Wales, Australia
In Australia we're set for a bit of a mismatch, with the all action Joel Brunker (33-3, 19) battling Indonesian journeyman Rivo Rengkung (37-27-6, 14). The 32 year old Brunker isn't going to reach the heights many had hopes for, but Rengkung shouldn't pose any sort of a threat at all, and will instead be expected to pick up his 28th career defeat.
In Russia we'll see former Uzbek amateur stand out Makhmud Gaipov (0-0) make his professional debut. Sadly at the time of writing no opponent has been named for Gaipov, but we're expecting him to be moved quickly and in 2019 we'll expect to see him fighting in 6 or even 8 rounders.
In Cebu we'll see the next ALA show, and it'll feature a number of Filipino prospects who are tipped for big things.
One of those prospects is the hard hitting, and once beaten, Virgel Vitor (12-1, 7). The 20 year old Vitor has won his last 8 bouts and will be looking to continue that winning run as he takes on the domestic journeyman Gerpaul Valero (22-20-4, 16). Vitor is coming into this bout on the back of defeat domestic wins against the likes of Michael Escobia and John Ray Logatiman but on paper this should be a better test. Valero was once 1-13-3 and has since gone 21-7-1 (16) and although no world beater is far better than his record suggests. This is a potential banana skin for Vitor, but one he should be able to over-come.
Another of the prospects in action is the excellent KJ Cataraja (7-0, 6), who faces off with Indonesian foe Frengky Rohi (5-5-1, 1) in a 10 rounder. Given that Cataraja turned professional with quite a bit of fanfare and hype it's frustrating to still see him fighting at this level almost 3 years after his debut. Cataraja is a sensational talent and really should be stepped up sooner rather than later. More annoyingly is that this bout is actually a step backwards for the unbeaten 23 year old, following an excellent win against Wiljan Ugbaniel last September. Rohi has lost his last 5 bouts, and is 0-4 outside of Indonesia. Amazingly Rohi has already lost 4 times in 2018 and it's hard to see him ending this run against someone as talented as Cataraja.
The third prospect in action will be Christian Bacolod (8-0, 6), the heavy handed 23 year old will be facing off against fellow Filipino Mervin Lulu (5-2-2, 2) in what looks likely to be the most interesting match up featuring a prospect. Bacolod has been really dangerous early in bouts, scoring all 6 of his stoppages in the first 3 rounds, but has shown the ability to fight over 6 rounds, having taken a couple of 6 round decisions. Lulu has been stopped twice, with one of those losses coming to recent world title challenger Vince Paras. Given his stoppage losses we don't see Lulu surviving with Bacolod here.
In Quebec fans will see exciting Kazakh hopeful Nurzat Sabirov (6-0, 5) fight for the third time this year. The promising Super Middleweight / Light Heavyweight will be taking on Guillermo Romero (12-6, 9) in an 8 rounder. On paper this looks a decent test for the touted Kazakh but should be a straight forward win given that Romero has been stopped in 5 of his 6 defeated, including a 5th roind stoppage last time out.