This coming Thursday is an intriguing day for fight fans who will get a genuinely brilliant bout in the US featuring an unbeaten Kazakh, and the chance to see several notable Filipino's in action, over in General Santos City. It's not a huge day, but it is a very, very interesting one.
Wild Card Boxing, Los Angeles, California, USA
For once we'll start in the US where we expect to see the bout of the day as unbeaten men collide in this week's Ring City USA show.
In one corner will be unbeaten Kazakh Madiyar Ashkeyev (14-0, 7), taking a long over-due step up in class, as he takes on touted American fighter Charles Conwell (13-0, 10) in a mouth watering match up. The 32 year old Ashkeyev has struggled to get notable opponents in the ring with him and has pretty much floundered due to a real lack of notable competition. When he's been in the ring however he looks talented and strong. Just a shame he's not had the competition to prove it against. Conwell on the other hand might be the pick of the bunch in terms of unheralded US hopefuls. The 23 year old had an emotional 2019, with his bout against the well liked Patrick Day ending in tragedy, but he has bounced back well and looked very good last time out, stopping Wendy Toussaint in October. This is a really, really good match up and should push the winner towards a world title fight.
Sanman Boxing Gym, General Santos City, Philippines
Although the best single bout is in the US the card that has the most notable names in action is in the Philippines where we see three former world title challengers and a very highly regarded prospect in action.
The highly regarded prospect on the show is the sensationally talented KJ Cataraja (11-0, 9), who takes on former Bantamweight world title challenger John Mark Apolinario (20-13-3, 5). The brilliant Cataraja looked like he had the talent to be fast tracked but sadly he was stuck with ALA Promotions when they were on a downturn and was unable to get the fights he needed to progress his career. Now with ZIP it's expected Cataraja will be moved very aggressively in 2021. This should be a good way to shake some ring rust before big fights in the new year. As for Apolinario he's been in the ring with some solid names, including Koki Kameda and Roberto Vasquez, but he's very much looked like a fighter at the end of his career in recent bouts, and has been stopped in 3 of his last 5.
Another former world title challenger on this show is Jeo Santisima (19-3, 16), who will be expected to pick up an easy win as he takes on novice foe Marjon Piencenaves (6-1-1, 4). This will be Santisima's first bout since losing to Emanuel Navarrete in a WBO Super Bantamweight title and despite that loss we expect him to pick up a very straight forward win. However Piencenaves will come into this with an upset mentality and know he can really boost his career if he can get the shock win here.
Another world title challenger on this show is former WBC Minimumweight title challenger Melvin Jerusalem (15-2, 9), who has previously given Wanheng Menayothin an incredibly tough test. Jerusalem is currently very highly ranked by the WBC and will be looking at potentially getting a second world title bout in 2021, though he will need to get past fellow Filipino Jayson Francisco (5-2, 1) here. As with Cataraja's bout it's hard to see this as anything more than a tick over bout for the favourite who will be looking for bigger and better things next year.
Hotel Catalonia Malecon Center, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic
Over in the Dominican Republic we'll get action involving several Japanese fighters.
One of those is Masayuki Suwa (22-13-2, 14), previously known as Cobra Suwa, who takes on Jean Carlos Rodriguez (8-6, 4). The 40 year old Suwa has had a really interesting career seems to be just ploughing on with boxing well beyond the typical Japanese retirement age, with this being his third straight bout since his last Japanese bout in April 2018. Aged 28 Rodriguez is the much younger man, however he has been stopped in 4 of his 6 losses and has only beaten 1 opponent with a winning record. We wouldn't be surprised at all by Suwa picking up the win here.
Another is Naoki Inaba (7-5-1, 3), who takes on Angelo Munoz (18-17, 11). On paper this looks a relatively even match up, but Inaba has gone unbeaten in his last 4 whilst Munoz has lost his last 9, falling from 18-8 (11) to 18-17 (11), and has been stopped in 8 of those 9 losses.
Another was Japanese based Dominican Vladimir Baez (26-6-2, 24), also known as Vladimir Baez, who takes on Mario Beltre (17-6, 12). This will be Baez's first bout since losing to Mongolian sensation Tuguldur Byambatsogt back in January whilst Beltre will return to the ring for the first time since June 2018.
This coming Tuesday fight fans in Tokyo get a card at the Korakuen Hall thanks to Hideki Todaka, who will be putting on several pretty interesting looking match ups.
The main event of this card will see Japanese ranked Featherweights facing off with Dai Iwai (21-5-1, 7) taking on Yosuke Kawano (12-6-2, 6), in a bit of a title eliminator. Coming in to this Iwai, a former OPBF title challenger, will be looking to bounce back from a loss to Taiki Minamoto, a loss that cost Iwai a shot at Japanese Featherweight Takenori Ohashi. Iwai will be fully aware that he hasn't looked good in his last two, and will need a good performance here if he's to get a domestic title bout. As for Kawano he has bounced back well from two losses in 2016, and looked really good in stopping Masashi Noguchi last time out. Although no world beater Kawano is is solid and should push Iwai all the way.
Another bout putting Japanese ranked fighters against each other, as Kazuma Sanpei (14-4, 5) takes on Kei Iwahara (8-4, 4), with both men having top 15 rankings at Super Featherweight with the JBC. Coming in to this Sanpei is on a 2 fight winning run, having twice beaten Ryuki Ishii last year, and looks to be turning his career around after a struggle that saw him go 1-4 between October 2014 and October 2016. As for Iwahara he comes into this on a career best win over Yuji Awata, which shoot give him a huge boost of confidence coming in to this bout.
Another fight of note on this card will see veteran Cobra Suwa (19-13-2, 11) take on a Thai foe. Little is known about the visitor but Suwa needs a win, given that he has gone 1-2 in his last 3, including stoppage to Nobuyuki Shindo last November and a decision loss to Ratchasi Sithsaithong in late 2016. Given that we're not expecting the Thai visitor to be particularly good it's hard to imagine Suwa losing, but the local will need to do more than just pick up a win,instead he will have to impress.
Title action continues in Tokyo for a second day running, with a trio of title bouts at the Korakuen Hall, including an OPBF title defense, a Japanese youth title defense and a bout for a vacant Japanese youth title, as well as a Japanese title eliminator. It's fair to say fans are in store for a packed card!
The most notable of the title bouts will see the fast rising Tsubasa Koura (11-0, 8) defending his OPBF Mnimumweight title against former amateur stand out Masataka Taniguchi (8-1, 6). The champion will be making his first defense of the title, a title that he won this past July, and he will be looking to continue his impressive stoppage run, which currently stands at 5 stoppages including wins over Jeffrey Galero and Jaysever Abcede. As for Taniguchi this will be his second title bout, having come up short in a bout against Reiya Konishi for the Japanese title.
At Lightweight we'll see Japanese Youth champion Izuki Tomioka (4-0, 1) defending his title for the first time, and facing off with with 21 year old puncher Taiju Shiratori (8-2, 5). The talented Tomioka won the title in August, defeating Yuichito Kasyua, and has had a stellar 2017 with with with wins over Joon Woo Park and Shun Shimazaki. As for Shiratori he's stopped his last 3 foes but this is a step up in class for him and going to be a test of how he can cope with a very skilled fighter.
The other Japanese Youth title fight will see the highly regarded Andy Hiraoka (10-0, 7) taking on Takahiko Kobayashi (7-2, 5) for the JBC Youth Light Welterweight title. These two both fought in the Semi-Final of the Japanese Youth tournament on August 23rd with Hiraoka blowing out Ukyo Yoshigai in 3 rounds whilst Kobayashi struggled to over-come Hayato Ono, avenging one of his two losses. Of the two it's Hiraoka who has impressed more, but at 6'0” Kobayashi will be one of the very few fighters taller than Hiraoka and could pose some questions based on size alone.
Despite there being 3 title bouts on this show the main event is technically a Japanese title eliminator at Light Middleweight as former national Welterweight champion Nobuyuki Shindo (18-4-1, 7) takes on veteran Cobra Suwa (19-12-2, 11). Shindo's reign at 147lbs was a short lived one, lasting just over 3 months, and he has fought only once since, getting off the canvas to defeat Sansouke Sasaki. The 37 year old Suwa had been a professional for more than 14 year and although he has challenged for both the OPBF and JBC titles he hasn't had a career defining win, but will know that a title fight in 2018 could given him one last chance.
One other bout of note here will see recent Japanese title challenger Ryoichi Tamura (8-3-1, 5) take on experienced Filipino Robert Udtohan (24-2-3, 15). Tamura recently challenged Yusaku Kuga, and gave Kuga all sorts of hell showing his power, aggression and energy. The Filipino is best known for his 2016 bout Qiu Xiao Jun, in which he was stopped in 3 rounds. It's hard to see Udtohan win here, but this should be a very entertaining contest.
New York, USA
There will also be some central Asian fighters in action in the US.
One of those fighters is hard hitting Uzbek Welterweight Shohjahon Ergashev (9-0, 9), who will be making his US debut and risking his perfect record against Marquis Hawthorne (5-7, 1). The Uzbek has taken out his first 9 foes in a combined 15 rounds and looks like a genuine monster, though with this being his first fight Stateside it really does look like he's being matched softly on paper. Hawthorne has shown little power during his career so far, but has only been stopped once and should be able to test Ergashev's power.
Also on the card is unbeaten American based Kazakh Dimash Niyazov (12-0-3, 5), though at the time of writing his opponent hasn't been announced.
This coming Friday isn't the busy of days, but it is a pretty notable day with a handful of name fighters in action.
The better of the Asian shows is from Laguna and features a former world champion, a youth champion and several other fighters of note.
The bigger name on the card is 37 year old former IBF Flyweight champion Amnat Ruenroeng (17-1, 5), who ends his professional retirement to take on Dado Cabintoy (15-7-2, 8) in a bit of a peculiar bout. Amnat had hung up his gloves last year, following his unsuccessful campaign at the Rio Olympics but appears to be making a comeback here. Cabintoy looks like a safe opponent for Amnat, especially with the Filipino having lost his last 3, but it's hard to imagine the comeback being a good one from the Thai.
Another notable bout near the top of this card will see former OPBF champion Al Rivera (17-3, 15) battle against Indonesian visitor Rusmin Kie Raha (15-12-3, 3). Rivera was controversially beaten last time out in Russia, and sadly for Raha we suspect he's going to be on to a hiding here against a massively heavy handed monster.
In an IBF Youth Flyweight title fight we'll see Robert Onggocan (8-1, 4), who won the title with an upset win over Iwan Zoda in Indonesia, defending his belt against the heavy handed Marjun Pantilgan (14-4, 11). This is a really tough first defense,on paper at least, for Onggocan and a successful defense would solid, a stoppage would be hugely impressive for the champion.
Other fighters on this card include Ernesto Saulong (20-2-1, 8), Venson Delopere (5-1-3, 2) and Alvin Lagumbay (7-1, 6) who should all pick up straight forward wins against over-matched foes.
As well as the show in Laguna there will also be a card in Tokyo, albeit a less interesting one that the Filipino one.
The main event will see Takashi Inagaki (18-15-2, 8) face off with a Thai foe in an 8 round whilst the chief support bout will see Japanese ranked Welterweight Cobra Suwa (18-12-2, 10) face a Thai. Sadly with the top two bouts both being decent Japanese fighters taking on Thai imports that card won't excite fans outside of Japan and it's a show that will struggle to get any wider attention.
In Hangzhou we'll see an interesting card featuring a trio of title bouts, across the weigh classes.
The lowest weight covered by those title fights is at Flyweight where local hopeful Jing Xiang (9-4-2, 1) will face the once beaten Joy Joy Formentera (8-1, 4) for the WBO Oriental Flyweight title. On paper this looks like an interesting bout, and will see Xiang looking to turn the interim title into the full version of the belt. Formentera is the visitor but is unbeaten in almost 4 years and is a very live under-dog.
At Heavyweight we'll see American based Romanian Razvan Cojanu (15-2, 8) battle unbeaten German based Kazakh born fighter Alexander Frank (11-0, 9) in a battle for the WBO Asia Pacific Heavyweight title, essentially guaranteeing a second successive European holder of this title, a strange thing given what the title was set up for.
Another Asia Pacific title fight comes at Lightweight where the unbeaten Xiang Xiang Sun (8-0, 6) takes on Thai visitor Tabthong Tor Buamas (15-5, 12) in a very interesting looking match up. Sun, who we believe has an incomplete boxrec record, is one of China's more over-looked hopefuls and should he win here he could be in the fringes of the WBO rankings. Whilst this looks interesting Tabthong has gone 2-4 in his last 6.
Also in China will be a card that sees Li Quan Lin (7-1-1, 2) battle Filipino Ernie Sanchez (15-8-1, 6) in a bout for the IBO Asia Pacific Lightweight title. The bout doesn't look competitive on paper but Sanchez is a live opponent, and not the journeyman his record suggests, whilst Lin is still pretty unproven, despite this being his first defense of the IBO regional title.
In Victoria we'll see two Indonesian fighters sharing the ring with the Australian Balla brothers.
Up against the once beaten Ibrahim Balla (9-1, 6) will be the experienced Agus Kustiawan (17-5-1, 7), who is fighting for the 6th time this year. Kustiawan has gone 0-1 outside of Indonesia but has been success in recent bouts winning 4 of his last 6. Balla was stopped last time out, losing to Neil John Tabanao back in June, and will be looking to return with a win here.
The other Balla is the unbeaten Qamil Balla (9-0-1, 3) who faces Musa Letding (11-5-4, 6), who was previously down to face Takuya Watanabe in Japan earlier this year. Letding is 0-3 outside of Indonesia but is a live dog here and is tough enough to give solid fighters a tough time, with his only stoppage loss coming years ago to Hurricane Futa. Balla will be favoured but should be tested.
There will also be action in Thailand with two notable Japanese fighters.
One of those is Cobra Suwa (18-11-2, 10), who will be defending his WBC Asian Boxing Council Light Middleweight title against former foe Ratchasi Sithsaithong (6-3, 5) whilst the other will be Hirotsugu Yamamoto (19-13-2, 3), who hasn't yet had his opponent named.
In the US fight fans will see 2008 Olympic medal winner Zhang Zhilei (12-0, 8) battle the highly experienced Galen Brown (44-35-1, 25). Browne, fighting for the 81st time, will be looking to secure a career best win whilst Zhilei will be looking to extend his unbeaten record and take a small step towards bigger and better fights.
This coming Sunday is certainly not a day to remember for Asian fans, despite shows across the continent.
On paper the best show, by far, is in Thailand where we see a Japan Vs Thailand card that features a number of notable names.
The main event will see Japan's Cobra Suwa (16-11-2, 8) travel to face Khompetch Sithsaithong (5-6, 5) in a bout for the PABA Light Middleweight title. On paper neither fighter looks like much, however Suwa is a talented fighter who has fought for the OPBF and JBC titles, however claiming the PABA title would be his biggest achievement to date, and see him claiming a second professional title.
Another notable name on this card is the very tough Takuya Watanabe (26-6-1, 12), who fights for the first time since losing a Japanese Featherweight title fight against Satoshi Hosono. The under-rated Watanabe will be expected to pick up a win here as he takes on Singnuor Lookchaomaesaithong (0-0) in an 8 round bout.
Another 8 rounder will see former Japanese title challenger Yosuke Kirima (21-5-2, 14) take on Thailand's Tiendaen Chaiyonggym (0-0), in what should be an easy for Kirima who was beaten last time out by Yuto Shimizu.
A final bout of note is a female title bout that will see Satomi Nishimura (8-2, 1) battle against Namphaya Sakpracha (5-2, 4) for the PABA female Light Flyweight title.
The second most notable of the shows comes from Japan's second city and is a low level show with just a single bout of note.
That bout is the main event and sees the promising Takuya Uehara (7-0, 4) putting his unbeaten record on the line against the more experienced Hiroki Yoshimura (7-12, 4). On paper this looks like a huge mismatch, the unbeaten hopeful against the experienced loser. In all honesty however it's Uehara who stepping up, in a big way, to take on a fighter who has mixed with fighters like Shota Hayashi and Kento Masushita. It is worth noting that Yoshimura has lost his last 7, but he is still a big step up from the novices that Uehara has been beating so far.
Metro Manila, Philippines
In the Philippines fans get the chance to see a number of bouts, though only one, again, seems notable. That is the main event, a 12 round bout between Eranio Semillano (10-7-1, 3) and the highly experienced Edison Berwela (13-32-8, 3). The bout isn't great on paper, but the winner will get a shot at the lightly regarded EPBC Bantamweight title, with this being an eliminator for that bout.
In China fans get a third successive day of action in Yunnan, though as with the previous two days the action certainly isn't particularly notable.
There isn't much action this coming Saturday, but there is enough get the juices flowing.
The most notable bout of the night, for us at least, is the farcical WBA “interim” Cruiserweight title fight between Kazakh slugger Beibut Shumenov (15-2, 10) and American fighter-come-analyst BJ Flores (31-1-1, 20). The bout is a insult to the other top Cruiserweights and really shouldn't be a title fight, especially given how little the two men have really done at the weight. Sadly however it is the most significant bout of the night for Asian fight fans
Another bout of note, taking places in the US, sees American-Filipino Brian Viloria (35-4-0-2, 21) battling against the limited but experienced Omar Soto (23-11-2, 15). This should be little more than a formality for Viloria who should be fighting in a big bout by the end of the year. The talented and exciting former world champion is still in the mix at world level and a win here should see him rewarded with a really big match up.
The only actual card in Asia is in Thailand where the main event will see Japan's Cobra Suwa (15-11-2, 7) battle Indonesian Elly Pangaribuan (4-5-2, 1) for the WBC Asian Boxing Council silver Super Welterweight title. On paper it's a mismatch and it should, really, be an easy win for Suwa who is significantly better than his record suggests, however the 35 year old Japanese fighter knows that a loss really could be the end for him.
New South Wales, Australia
In New South we have two bouts of note.
For us the most interesting will see Australian based Filipino Joebert Delos Reyes (14-5-1, 10) battles against Arnon Yuchaereon (0-9-1), an Australian based Thai. It's hard to see anything but a win for Reyes, and an easy one at that.
The other bout will see Pramool Boonpok (1-16-1) battle against Tommy Brown (28-6-1, 11) in a farcical mismatch. Whilst we won't pretend the other bout will be competitive this is just an ugly mismatch and one that leaves Spikes Boxing looking bad.
More action in Australia comes in Queensland as Apichat Koedchatturat (0-0)* battle against Australian foe Ben Kite (2-2-1, 1). It's hard to know what to expect here but at least it's not a huie mismatch, on paper at least.
Apichat Koedchatturat was originally listed as being Apichat Yuchareon.
The great Japanese action this month continues on a Wednesday which is highlighted by a potentially sensational Japanese Flyweight title fight. We won't pretend this card is a strong one but the main event looks great and one of the support bouts has the potential to be be very interesting whilst another support bout features a man eyeing up a domestic title fight later in the year..
The aforementioned Flyweight title bout will see defending champion Suguru Muranaka (21-2-1, 7) attempt to record the 3rd defence of the belt as he takes on former challenger Tetsuma Hayashi (25-2-2, 9) in a bout that we suspect will see a lot of leather being thrown. Muranaka, who is world ranked by all 4 bodies, has looked really good in recent bouts stopping both Masayuki Kuroda in a gruelling battle before knocking Yusuke Sakashita in spectacular fashion. Although Muranaka is in great form Hayashi should make for a very tough stylistic match up and exciting bout. We really wouldn't be surprised if this ended up being a Japanese FOTY contender.
An interesting support bout at Featherweight will see Yoshitomo Watanabe (6-1, 5), an OPBF ranked contender, battle against Kosuke Mizuno (7-4-2, 2) in what we suspect could be a very good test for for the once beaten Watanabe. Coming into this bout both men are unbeaten in 3 and both know a win moves them close to a title fight.
Another ranked fighter on this card is Cobra Suwa (14-11-2, 7), who is ranked by the JBC. Suwa, a Welterweight contender, will be battling against Thailand's limited Chatchai Sithsaithong (8-4, 6). We can't see anything but a Suwa win here, though it certainly wouldn't be enough for him to get a third title fight, so hopefully a quick win will be followed by a swift return to action later in the year.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)