Bucheon, South Korea
The main show this coming Saturday for Asian fight fans comes from South Korea, keeping up what has been an interestingly busy Korean scheduled this year. This time around it will be the KBA who are leading the way, and not the more well established KBM or KBF.
The main event of the card will see female veteran Ji Hyun Park (23-3, 7) take on Chinese novice YuFei Wu (1-0). This will be Park's first defense of the WBF International Minimumweight title, which she won last July, and it's hard to see her losing here as she is genuinely a world class fighter. Wu is such an unknown that it's hard to get a read on her, though Korean sources have suggested that she was a standout Chinese amateur at high school level.
On the under-card there isn't too much to be excited by, with the biggest supporting bout being between KBA ranked Light Welterweight's Hwan Young Jo (5-7, 1) and Jong Hoon Lim (2-4-1). These are both top 3 ranked by the KBA, though that really sums up the lack of depth under the KBA ranks. Another supporting bout will see Bum Young Lee (10-9-2, 3) take on Hyeon Oh Lee (3-3), with both of these men being ranked in the top 10 by the KBA at Super Bantamweight.
As well as the show in Korea there is also a show of note in the Philippines, featuring a number of interesting local hopefuls.
One of the interesting bouts on this card will see unbeaten 19 year old ArAr Andales (9-0, 2) take on Cris Ganoza (17-2, 8) in a bout for the WBA Asia Minimumweight title. The bout is pencilled in as Andales' first defense of the belt, and he has really been impressive so far through his career, but this is a clear step up in class, and is obviously his toughest bout to date.
Another interesting match up on this card will see Alphoe Dagayloan (12-2-5, 5) make his first defense of the WBA Asia Flyweight title, as he takes on unbeaten 20 year old Esneth Domingo (11-0, 6). Without trying to sound too easily impressed, we think this is a bloody brilliant match up. We've been impressed by Dagayloan, despite his less than perfect record, and Domingo is no patsy. This could be one of the weekends most interesting bouts.
The biggest show in Asia takes place in Hyogo and will feature two notable bouts.
The main event will see Japan's Shohei Kawashima (16-2-2, 3) take on Filipino Ronnie Campos (8-3-3, 5). The Japanese fighter has impressed over-all, and pushed Cristian Mijares surprisingly close in 2016. Sadly for Kawashima he did suffer a KO loss last year to Gaku Aikawa and this is his first step up in class since that loss. The 21 year old visitor will bee fighting in Japan for the second time, having lost in 2017 to Junki Sasaki, and will feel like he could pick up a win against Kawashima, who may be low on confidence here.
Also on this card is unbeaten prospect Yuki Yamauchi (1-0, 1), who was originally announced to have a 10 round bout, but has since had the bout rescheduled to a 6 rounders, take on Alvin Medura (8-2, 7). The Japanese novice is tipped to be a massive star in the future and this is a really good test for him against a limited, but dangerous, Filipino puncher. Medura is no world beater, but at this level he is very dangerous if he lands, and he's a hungry fighter, but was out boxed a year ago by Ryuto Owan, who showed that he can be out boxed.
This show will also feature the retirement ceremony of Japan's Ryuya Yamanaka, who has had to hang up the gloves on medical grounds. It's a shame to see Yamanaka hang up his gloves at just 23 years old. Despite his early retirement we do expect the fans to send him into a retirement with a serious send out.
Cebu also plays host to a small card, which really hasn't got much attention or much worth talking about, if we're being honest.
The main event will see local loser Wilbert Rota (0-4) take on unbeaten Taiwanese fighter Ming Hung Lee (6-0, 4), in what should be a mismatch in favour of the 29 year old Lee.
A slightly more interesting bout on the same card will see Cris Ganoza (15-2, 8) take on Ernesto Alera (5-5-1). The 24 year old Ganoza is a talented fighter who has only suffered losses to Edward Heno and John Michael Zulueta, two very talented unbeaten youngsters. The light punching Alera has won just 1 of his last 5 bouts and isn't expected to be much of a test for Ganoza, despite the fact Ganoza was beaten last time out.
Busan, South Korea
There is also set to be a small novice show in Korea, headlined by Suk Joon Hwang (3-1-2) and Urmat Amankulov (2-0, 1). The 23 year old Hwang lost after 103 seconds on his debut but has since gone on a 5 fight unbeaten run. The unbeaten Amankulov is a Korean based Kyrgyzstan born fighter who debuted in July and has already racked up a couple of wins. Although not a mouth watering match up on paper this could be very fun for the fans in Busan.
Other notable prospects will be in action in Canada, with a duo of Central Asian prospects taking on interesting tests in Quebec.
One of those prospects is Kazakh Lightweight Ablaikhan Khussainov (8-0, 5), who takes a notable step up up in class, as he takes on the experienced Jesus Laguna (22-12-3, 19) in an 8 round bout. The 27 year old Kazakh is a talent but has been moved very slowly since making his debut in December 2015 and this step up is well over-due. The 30 year old Laguna has been around the block but has failed to win any of his more notable bouts. On paper this is a step up, but a manageable one for the Kazakh.
Originally the talented Sadriddin Akhmedov (3-0, 3) was pencilled in to face off against Norberto Gonzalez (23-11, 13) on this card. Gonzalez has however been removed from the card, and Akhmedov will instead face off with Jesus Javier Mendoza (7-5-1, 6), in what looks like a big downgrade. The unbeaten Akhmedov, from Kazakhstan, has looked excellent since making his debut in April and will be looking to leave an impression here as well.
Sadly it seems like the previously reported match up between Nurzat Sabirov (7-0, 6) and Adrian Luna Flores (20-5-1, 13) has been cancelled in the days leading up to the fight. On paper this was an excellent match up for Sabirov and a great test against a fighter who has been a long term sparring partner for Ryota Murata, so it's a shame to see the bout falling through.
In Belgium fans will see Kyrgyzstan born Super Featherweight hopeful Faroukh Kourbanov (15-1, 3) take on Frenchman Sylvain Chapelle (17-25-2). The talented Kourbanov, who is bow based in Belgium, is a former EBU European Union champion who suffered his first loss this past May against Italian veteran Devis Boschiero, in a close bout on the road, and he'll be looking to bounce back. The 32 year old Chapelle is very limited but typically fights at Lightweight or Light Welterweight and is very tough and well travelled. Chapelle has never been stopped and has fought the likes of Scott Cardle, Yvan Mendy, Romain Jacob and Emiliano Marsili. This should be a clear win for Kourbanov, but he will be expecting to be taken the distance.
In Thailand fans will be able to see Japanese puncher Yuya Nakamura (7-1, 5) continue his rather unorthodox career as he continues to build his record in Bangkok. The once beaten Japanese fighter will be up against Yutthichai Wannawong (8-6, 6) in a bout for a regional title. The Japanese fighter lost on his debut in China, back in 2012, and since then has fought twice in the Philippines, once more in China before building his reputation in Thailand, where he is 4-0 (1). The actual Thai born fighter won't be expected to slow down Nakamura's run, and with 5 stoppages losses against his name already, he's not even expected to last long.
Negros Occidental, Philippines
Another title fight will take place in the Philippines, as the unbeaten John Michael Zulueta (7-0-2, 3) battles against the once beaten Cris Ganoza (15-1, 8) in a bout for the Asian Boxing Federation Minimumweight title. Coming into this bout Zulueta is riding a 7 fight winning run, following back to back draws to begin his career, and has picked up the a low level title already in his short career, though he is stepping up in class massively here. Ganoza's only defeat came to Edward Heno, of which there is no shame at all, and since then he has scored 3 straight wins and will have rebuilt his confidence coming in to this bout. This could be a very competitive and close bout.
A second Filipino show will take place in Benguet where fans will get the chance to see a number of notable domestic fighters in action.
One of those notable fighters is experienced 28 year old Ryan Rey Ponteras (21-13-1, 10), who will be up against the limited Silem Serang (11-17-1, 1). Although Ponteras doesn't have an amazing looking record, he is pretty good and has had a number of very questionable defeats. Serang on the other hand is a professional loser of sorts and has been stopped 11 times and rarely heard the final bell when fighting outside of Indonesia, with only a single win outside of his homeland.
A much better looking bout will see Edrin Dapudong (33-6-1, 20) end an 18 month break from the ring to take on Jomar Fajardo (14-11-2, 7) in what should be an excellent match up. In his pomp Dapudong was a was an IBO champion and a fringe contender, with notable wins against the likes of Gideon Buthelezi and Bert Batawang, though it's unclear what he has left given his length break from the ring. Fajardo is best known for his two fights against Francisco Rodriguez Jr, though since then he has taken a lot of punishment, and it's hard to know what he has left to offer.
Another notable fighter on this card is former OPBF Flyweight title challenger Cris Paulino (17-3, 7), who will be expected to take a very easy win over the light punching Junjie Lauza (6-21-2, 1).
Metro Manila, Philippines
The main show this coming Saturday is the Elorde promoted card from Metro Manila.
The main event of the show will see once beaten Filipino Juan Miguel Elorde (24-1, 13) defending the WBO Asia Pacific Super Bantamweight title against Thai Yodsingdaeng Jor Chaijinda (16-4, 10). The local will be strongly favoured here, but the Thai should ask some questions of Elorde, and the bout should be more competitive than it looks on paper.
Sadly the rest of this show looks like a card mostly stacked with mismatches, however one bout does back that rule and looks like a compelling contest on paper. That bout is an 8 rounder that pits the unbeaten pairing of Arvin Magramo (7-0-1, 4) and Michael Mendoza (5-0-2, 1) against each other. This could end up being the bout of the day.
Lanao del Norte, Philippines
A second Filipino card will take place in Lanao del Norte.
This card will see once beaten prospect Cris Ganoza (14-1, 8) take on highly experienced veteran Donny Mabao (22-34-3, 4). The bout will be Mabao's 60th as a professional whilst Ganoza will be seeking his third straight win, following a stoppage loss to Edward Heno, almost a year ago.
Another bout of some note on this card is one between former WBC Flyweight champion Sonny Boy Jaro (43-14-5, 30) and Dondon Narvaez (12-25-7, 3). Jaro is a long way removed from the fighter who stopped PongsaklekWonjongkam back in 2012, though should still have far too much for Narvaez, who has been stopped in his last 4, and is more than 3 years removed from his last win.
Dongducheon, South Korea
In South Korea fans will be getting a card with a lot of Rookies on it, in fact the card has a frankly jaw dropping 24 Rookie bouts on it. As well as those Rookie bouts there will also be a 6 round line bout featuring the Korean based Cameroonian born refugee Heuk San Lee (5-0-1, 3), who looks to continue his remarkable story.
For those unaware Abdoulaye Assan, aka Heuk San Lee, is a man who has sought refuge in Korea and has become a minor boxing celebrity in the country. His opponent for this show is unknown but it's hard not to support him in his fight to have a quality life in Korea.
Pathum Thani, Thailand
There will also be a small card in Thailand.
The main event here will see Fahpetch Singmanassak (5-2, 2) take on 36 year old Petchthongchai Singmanasak (6-13). Of the two men it's Petchthongchai who is perhaps the more well known, though he was stopped by the then returning Amnat Ruenroeng last year, and there is little else of note on his record. As for Fahpetch there is next to nothing on his record of any note, though he has won his last 3 bouts.
The card will also feature Soh Ohba (2-0-1, 2), who is the nephew of former Japanese world champion Masao Oba. At the time of writing nothing is known in regards who he will be fighting.
To end the month of January we get a low key card in Cebu featuring some notable fighters.
One of the more well known fighters on this card is Carlo Demecillo (9-4, 3), who faces off with Margarito Moya (9-4, 3). In 2016 we saw Demecillo suffer two losses in Japan, being out pointed by Hisashi Amagasa and stopped in 3 rounds by Satoshi Shimizu. Since those losses he has bounced back well, with 3 wins on the domestic scene. Coming in to this bout Moya has no real momentum, and has been stopped in 3 of his last 4 bouts, with another loss expected here.
A second fighter of note on this card is the once beaten Cris Ganoza (14-1, 8) taking on the hugely experienced Sherwin McDo Lungay (8-41-2). The 23 year old Ganoza was stopped last year by Edward Heno,who has since gone on to claim the OPBF Light Flyweight title but has since bounced back with two stoppage wins of his own. Given that Lungay has been stopped 23 times already, it's very hard to see him lasting with with Ganoza.
Another bout on this card worth noting looks like a shoot out, as the unbeaten Allan Villanueva (7-0, 6) takes on the limited but hard hitting Jason Tinampay (8-7-1, 7). The unbeaten fighter has fought only 17 professional rounds but is a promising youngster with an exciting future ahead. As for Tinampay he's been hard matched, and has gone 0-5-1 in his last 6, but is dangerous, and will but looking to blast out his unbeaten foe here in what could be a very exciting contest.
In Tokyo we get one of two notable cards, with a title bout in the headliner and some interesting supporting bouts.
That title bout at the top of the card will see Japanese Bantamweight champion Ryo Akaho (30-2-2, 19) defending his title against the #1 ranked contender Yuta Saito (10-7-3, 7), in a bout that doesn't look great on paper. Saito is an upset minded fighter, and is better than his record suggests, but this is a massive step up in class and Akaho, a 2-time world title challenger, should comfortably win here. For the champion this will be his first defense of a title he won earlier in the year against Yushi Tanaka and we can't see him giving up the title easily, especially not to a fighter like Saito.
The chief support bout will see Teiken prospect Shuya Masaki (7-0, 3) fighting against a Thai foe, as Masaki continues his rise towards a potential title fight. Although he hasn't set the world on fire like we had hoped Masaki does look a talent, and we expect him to make a statement here, as he looks to convince Teiken that he deserves a title fight of some kind.
A really solid looking support bout will see Masashi Noguchi (12-7-1, 6) take on Tatsuya Yanagi (12-5-1, 4) in a bout that has a real 50-50 feel. Coming in Noguchi has been stopped in his last two, but those stoppages have been to very good fighters in the form of Shuhei Tsuchiya and Satoshi Hosono. Yanak on the other hand has gone 2-5-1 in his last 8, though did score a notable win over Ryusei Nakajima last time out. This has two men who need a win and we expect them to fight like men who really need to perform.
Another good looking support bout will see Ryohei Takahashi (11-2-1, 3) take on Yuki Iriguchi (8-1-1, 4). Coming in to this Takahashi is on a 3 fight winning run with wins against Kazuki Tanaka and Wataru Takeda. Interestingly Iriguchi has also won his last 3, including an upset win over Kenshin Oshima last October.
One other bout of interest will see KO article Kai Chiba (5-0, 5) take on teenager Ikuro Sadatsune (6-1-2, 2). Both men appear to be stepping up here, with both being pretty untested, but they should answer some questions as they face off in a good looking match up, and a nice supporting contest for the show.
We also get a genuinely huge show in India, as two super powers go against each other with both fighters looking to put their country on the boxing map.
In one corner will be unbeaten Indian Vijender Singh (8-0, 7), a huge hero to his homeland, whilst his opponent will be big punching Chinese fighter Zulipikaer Maimaitiali (8-0-1, 6). Coming in the the bout both men hold different WBO regional titles, with Singh defending the WBO Asia Pacific title and Maimaitiali looking to defend the WBO Oriental crown. The winner will unify the titles and move a long way towards getting a world title fight, so this really is a huge bout, for both Indian and Chinese boxing.
On the under-card we'll see 25 year old Indian hopeful Neeraj Goyat (8-2-2, 2) take on former OPBF Super Featherweight champion Allan Tanada (15-6-3, 7). On paper the bout looks like a good test for Goyat, but the Indian is naturally much bigger and will be using that size in what will be his first defense of the WBC ABC Welterweight title, which he won back in October.
In Cebu we'll get a low key card featuring a couple of notable names in what look like horrible mismatches.
One of those mismatches wlll see once beaten prospect Cris Ganoza (12-1, 6) take on Garry Rojo (7-10, 4). Ganoza was stopped in 9 rounds last time out by Edward Heno and it's clear that his team want him to get an easy win under his belt as he begins rebuilding his career, and in many ways it's hard to complain about them giving him an easy comeback win.
The other mismatch will see the out of form, but very talented, Rey Labao (27-9, 18) take on Jhun Ryan Quimbo (5-14-2). Although Labao's record doesn't show it, he was a real handful on the fringes of world class a few years ago, with power that stopped Jay Solmiano and Masao Nakamura and a toughness that always made him a nightmare. Labao has lost his last 3, and 4 of his last 5, and is coming to the end of his roller coaster career, but should have far too much for Quimbo, who is little more than a domestic journeyman.
New Jersey, USA
In the US we see another Chinese fighter in action as Heavyweight hopeful Zhilei Zhang (16-0, 12) takes on Nick Guivas (13-7-2, 9). This will be Zhang's fourth fight this year, following 3 first round stoppages, and it's great that he's staying so busy, but it's time he took a step up in class and hopefully next time out he'll take on someone a bit more notable than Guivas, who has been stopped 4 times in 22 bouts already
Metro Manila, Philippines
The best of the three Asian shows this Sunday comes from the Philippines where we'll get some really intriguing action.
On paper the main event here is bout of the day and will see rising youngster Jonas Sultan (12-3, 8) take on former world champion Sonny Boy Jaro (43-13-5, 30), with Sultan looking to defend his IBF Inter-Continental Super Flyweight title for the first time. Sultan has impressed a lot over the last 2 years or so, with a number of solid wins including stoppages against Tatsuya Ikemizu and Makazole Tete and if he can score a win over Jaro he will potentially find himself on the fringes of the world rankings. Aged 34 Jaro is looking to earn another world title fight, and is on a 9 fight winning streak following a series of setbacks in 2012 and 2013. At his best Jaro is a tough guy to beat, with power, experience and toughness and will be looking to put himself back in the mix with a win over the rising hopeful. A really great match up.
Another really good domestic match up will see the under-rated Richard Pumicpic (18-8, 6) take on former OPBF champion Roli Gasca (23-7-1, 7) in what could be a real thriller, despite what the records suggest. Pumipic was last seen losing an all-action bout against Cesar Juarez last October and has previously given hell to the likes of Ryosuke Iwasa, Yohei Tobe and Allan Tanada. Gasca on the other hand has beaten Hiromasa Ohashi and twice had competitive bouts with Yukinori Oguni, and earned a draw with Akifumi Shimoda. Neither of these two are likely to be future world champions, but both are solid and should be make for a great bout against each other.
Also on this card will be the unbeaten Edward Heno (9-0-4, 3), who looks to claim the Philippines Boxing Federation Light Flyweight title. Heno will be up against fellow unbeaten southpaw Cris Ganoza (12-0, 6) in what looks like another cracking match up on a really good show.
The more notable of two Japanese shows comes from Hyogo where we see a small card featuring a couple of fighters of some note.
The most promising fighter on the show will be rising Bantamweight hopeful Tenta Kiyose (11-2-1, 4), who looks to extend a nice 4 fight unbeaten run as he takes on Taisei Higashi (7-9-1, 5). Kiyose was last seen stopping Ryuta Otsuka in 3 rounds, and has been on a great run since coming up short at the 2015 Rookie of the Year final. Higashi on the other hand has struggled with consistency recently and gone 3-6-1 in his last 10, which doesn't bode well here.,
The other fighter of note is 22 year old Featherweight hopeful Tenmei Serizawa (9-3, 5), who battled against Takuya Yamamoto (7-6, 4). Earlier in his career Serizawa struggled, going 3-3 in his first 6, but has strung together 6 straight wins including a career best 4th round KO win over Hikaru Matsuoka last time which has put him on the map so to speak. On the other hand Yamamoto has struggled recently with a 1-3 run in his last 4, including defeats to Shingo Kawamura and Yuta Uetani. On paper this doesn't look hugely exciting but Yamamoto is better than his record suggests and this could be a very competitive match.
For fans interested in this show it will be part of the Boxingraise subscription sevrice, and will be added on delay.
The other card is a small one form Fukuoka.
In the main event of this card we'll see Yusuke Yamanouchi (8-3-1, 4) battling against a Thai visitor in a 10 rounder. The bout looking to bounce back from an 8 round decision last May to Mitsuyoshi Fujita whilst little is known about the Thai he'll be facing.
The chief supporting bout here is a 6 rounder between Takuya Sugiyama (5-3-1) and Yuta Nakashima (7-10, 2), who fight in a rematch following a very close contest last year. Between them the fighters have a combined 12 wins, with 2 stoppages, and 13 losses, with just 2 of them by stoppage. Although yet to score a stoppage Sugiyama will be favoured to win here with Nakahsima having lost his last 5 in a row, including a loss to Sugiyama last time out, and is without a win in over 6 years!