Tech Port Arena, San Antonio, Texas, USA
The main show this coming Saturday takes place in Texas, where we see one of the best looking shows of the year thanks to Matchroom, which give us a genuinely stacked card, including two world title bouts involving Asian fighters.
One of those bouts, arguably the more interesting, will see WBC Super Flyweight champion Jesse Rodriguez Franco (15-0, 10) make his first defense, as he takes on former 2-time champion Srisaket Sor Rungvisai (50-5-1, 43), in a mouth watering bout. The bout has come about after "Bam" Rodriguez was a late replacement for Srisaket earlier this year, when Srisaket was forced to pull out of a bout with Carlos Cuadras on medical grounds, with Rodriguez making the most of his opportunity and beating Cuadras. A win here over Rungvisai would put Rodrgiuez as the front runner for the 2022 Fighter of the Year. As for Srisaket the hard hitting Thai will be looking to become a 3-time champion, though sadly he has looked like a man on the slide the last few years, and at 35 he is certainly on the older side for a Super Flyweight. Our preview of this bout can be read here Rodriguez faces Srisaket in first world title defense
The other world title bout featuring an Asian fighter will see Uzbekistani fighter Murodjon Akhmadaliev (10-0, 7) look to defend his IBF and WBA Super Bantamweight titles as he takes on exciting American challenger Ronny Rios (33-3, 16). The bout, which was planned for last year, though fell through with Rios suffering Covid on the week of the fight and being replaced by Jose Velasquez. In the end Akhmadaliev took and easy win over Velasquez but Rios was left looming and finally gets his shot here. The talent Uzbekistani fighter will know that a 4 title unification bout is out there for him, with Stephen Fulton, but he will need to get past Rios here and score his third defense for that bout to stay alive. As for Rios this is his second world title fight and comes 16 months after his most recent bout, a win over Oscar Negrete. In fact Rios has fought just once since the pandemic started and we wonder whether that lack of activity will be an issue for the 32 year old. Our in depth preview of ths bout can be read here Unified champion Akhmadaliev faces Rios!
Sale Memorial Hall, Sale, Victoria, Australia
As well as the action in the US we also get some Asian interest down under in Victoria.
The most notable of the Asian fighters on this card is highly experienced Filipino fighter Czar Amonsot (35-6-3-1, 22), who looks set to pick up an easy win as he takes on Thai visitor Surachet Tongmala (9-16, 6) in a 12 round Welterweight bout. Notably for Amonsot he has lost 3 of his last 4, and it's fair to assume his career is coming to an end, with that in mind it's hard to complain too much about this bout, and hopefully a win here will allow the 36 year old Amonsot to retire into the sunset with a win. As for Tongmala, also known as Fonluang Sor Singyu, he has been stopped in 14 of his 16 losses, including a loss in May against Miles Zalewski, making it a bit of a worry that he's back in the ring only around 6 weeks after that loss.
Another bout of note on this card featuring an Asian fighter will see limited Australian fighter Jake Gathercole (7-7-1, 2) take on unbeaten Thai visitor Banpot Khaoiam (4-0-1, 4), in a bout for the lightly regarded WBF Australian Cruiserweight title. On paper this looks like a mismatch, but it's actually set to be an interesting one. Gathercole is certainly limited, but has competed at a much, much higher level than Banpot, who has scored all his wins over total novices. We do not expect this one to go the distance or to be a show case of what pure boxing is, but it should be entertaining.
There isn't much Asian action this coming Wednesday but there are two bouts of note taking place in Queens involving Asian fighters.
One of those will see Singaporean fighter Nurshahidah Roslie (14-3, 11) take on promising, and unbeaten, Cherneka Johnson (12-0, 6). Although no world beater Roslie is a solid fighter, who is game and fights hard, even when she's been out classed. She'll enter as the clear under-dog but will certainly be there to win. Johnson on the other hand looks like a future world title challenger and we wouldn't be surprised by her landing a big fight in the near future. This, to us, looks like a stepping stone bout for Johnson, who is on her way to some much tougher opposition.
The other bout of note for us on this show will see Filipino veteran Czar Amonsot (35-4-3-1, 22) take on unbeaten Australian hopeful Andrew Hunt (5-0-1, 3). Amonsot is best known for his 2007 bout with Michael Katsidis, though suffered an injury in that bout that came close to ending his career. Some how he has fought on since then, going 16-1-2-1 (12), though was stopped just 2 fights back. The 22 year old Hunt will have size advantages of Amonsot, but has fought at a very low level and this is a huge step up in class for him.
The biggest card this coming Friday is in Qingdao as we get two world title fights and several other minor title contests.
One of the world title bouts will see WBO Flyweight champion Sho Kimura (16-1-2, 9) return to China, where he won the title last year against Zou Shiming, to defend the belt against Froilan Saludar (28-2-1, 19). Kimura has made just a single defense of the title, but looks like a solid champion who is strong, hungry and hard hitting, much more so than his record suggests. As for Saludar he was once tipped as a major star but has failed to reach the heights expected of him. Saying that however Saludar has seen his brother, Vic Saludar, score a massive win recently over Ryuya Yamanaka and will feel full of confidence following his brothers win. We're expecting heavy leather to be thrown here and we suspect both have the power to hurt the other.
The other world title fight will see unbeaten WBA Minimumweight champion Knockout CP Freshmart (17-0, 7) defending his title against China's very own Xiong Zhao Zhong (27-7-1, 14). This will be Knockout's first bout outside of Thailand and will see him hunting a 5th defense of the WBA regular title. Although talented Knockout does have flaws and with the Chinese crowd against him he may need to up the pace in the later rounds, something he's rarely done when he's been fighting at home. For Zhong the bout is one final chance to become a 2-time world champion, though at the age of 35 it's hard to know what he really left in the tank.
In another title bout we'll see China's Baishanbo Nasiyiwula (13-2-1, 6) take on Filipino fighter Sonny Katiandagho (12-2, 7) for a couple of regional titles. Coming in to this Nasiyiwula will be trying to bounce back from his April loss against Fredrick Lawson in the US, and will be dropping back down from Welterweight to Light Welterweight for this bout. As for Katiandagho he was stopped 2 fights ago, and has been down a few times during his career, though will feel confident here having gone 2-0 in fights in China.
Other bouts on this card include Can Xu (13-2, 1) against Jelbirt Gomera (13-4, 7) and an interim regional Flyweight title bout between Wulan Tuolehazi (7-3-1, 3) and Yokthong Kokietgym (18-4, 11).
Fight fans in Tokyo will get something a bit special as reason put on a stacked card at the Korakuen Hall.
The major attraction here is an amazing match up for the Japanese Super Bantamweight title, as defending champion Yusaku Kuga (16-2-1, 11) takes on former world title challenger Shingo Wake (24-5-2, 16) in what is essentially a world title eliminator between two world class fighters. The hard hitting Kuga has made two defenses of the title that he won in February 2017, though certainly got pushed hard in the first of those against the aggressive and hard hitting Ryoichi Tamura. Wake on the other hand is a former OPBF champion who's only loss in the last 6 years came to the hard hitting Jonathan Guzman in 2016. This is a puncher against a boxer, and we're expecting a compelling stylistic match up here.
Whilst the main event is brilliant it may end up being outshone by a supporting bout between unbeaten Minimumweight prospects, who trade blows for the Japanese Youth Minimumweight title. The bout in question will see 2016 Minimumweight Rookie of the Year Daiki Tomita (12-0, 4) take on the heavy handed Kai Ishizawa (4-0, 4) in what is really a fantastic match up. The 20 year old Tomita had a break out 2016 with his Rookie of the Year triumph and since then has gone 4-0 (2) with a notable domestic win over Desierto Nagaike. On the other hand Ishizawa, who debuted in June 2017, has just been destructive with his April win over Tatsuro Nakashima being a huge statement. This really has the potential to be a very special bout.
Former Japanese and OPBF champion Takuya Kogawa (29-5, 13) will be returning to the ring for his first bout of the year, as he takes on former Japanese title challenger Yusuke Sakashita (16-8-2, 11). At his best Kogawa was world class, and has long been a fan favourite due to his high octane style and willingness to have a tear up against anyone. Sadly though at the age of 33 we suspect his career is catching up with him and he may not have too long left at the top. Saying that however we still suspect Kogawa will have more than enough to over-come the somewhat limited Sakashita who has gone 4-4 in his last 8, losing to the 4 notable fighters that he's shared the ring with in that time.
Another really interesting match up will see former Japanese Super Bantamweight champion Masaaki Serie (27-9, 10) return to the ring after more than 2 years away from the ring. Unfortunately for the 35 year old Serie he will be up against the fast rising Daisuke Sugita (2-0, 1), who is tipped for big things. At his best Serie was a really solid fighter, who scored notable wins against the likes of Mikihito Seto, Shoji Kimura and Yasutaka Ishimoto. Sadly for Serie he was showing signs of his age before his break from the ring, and had gone 3-4 in his previous 7 bouts. Sugita is a former amateur stand out who debuted in April and is taking a big step up here, but one that we expect him to make with ease given just how good he was as an amateur, and how good he's been since turning professional.
A second Japanese card will be held in Osaka where we see several rising prospects and a former Japanese champion in action. Sadly however this card really lacks in terms of quality match ups.
The main event on this card will see second generation fighter Juiki Tatsuyoshi (8-0, 5), the son of the legendary Joichiro Tatsuyoshi, take on Indonesian veteran Noldi Manakane (32-24-2, 18). The Japanese fighter will be fighting in his first 10 rounder and taking a notable step up in class as he battles his first former world title challenger. Sadly though Manakane is a long, long way from the fighter who challenged Koki Kameda or the WBA Bantamweight title back in 2012 and the 34 year old has won just 8 of his last 21 fights.
The former champion on this card is former Japanese Featherweight champion Kosuke Saka (17-4, 14), who continues to rebuild his career following his shock loss to Takenori Ohashi last December. The heavy handed Saka shouldn't struggle at all with the light hitting Gusti Elnino (4-12-1, 1), who fights outside of Indonesia for the first time. Saka might not be the best fighter, or the smartest, but he should be far too strong and powerful for Elnino.
The once beaten, and heavy handed, Kyosuke Tsutsumimoto (7-1, 6) will be looking to score his 4th straight stoppage as he takes on Arega Yunian (6-10, 1). The Japanese fighter has rebuilt well since a loss in a 4 rounder to Bunta Okamoto back in 2016, and looks to be rising through the ranks, helped in part to a big win in April against Engelbert Moralde. The Indonesian fighter also fought in April, but unlike Tsutsumimoto he was himself stopped, being taken out in 3 rounds by super prospect Hintata Maruta. Given how their performances went in April it's hard to see anything but a stoppage win for Tsutsumimoto.
Also on this show will be the highly promising Ginjiro Tsutsumimoto (1-0, 1), who impressed us back in his amateur days. The talented Japanese hopeful will be up against his own Indonesian foe in the form of Iwan Sanca, who has been stopped in both of his defeats. We've got big hopes for Tsutsumimoto and really can't imagine him struggling, at all, in this bout as he moves towards bigger and better fights.
Eastern Cape, South Africa
Outside of Asia the most interesting match up will see once beaten South African fighter Yanga Sigqibo (10-1-1, 3) face off against Filipino foe Rene Dacquel (20-7-1, 6) in a bout for the WBC international Super Flyweight title. The South African fighter won the national title last year and made one defense, but this is a big step up for him as he takes on a former OPBF champion. Dacquel was dominated last time out, by Andrew Moloney, but is a very capable fighter and has got a real chance of picking up a solid win on the road here.
The more notable of two Australian cards comes from Victoria where Brian Amatruda gives us a pretty interesting match up with a Thai involved, and also a bout with a notable Filipino.
The interesting bout, for us, will see the once touted Kaewfah Tor Buamas (27-4, 17) take on rising Australian hopeful Liam Paro (14-0, 10). The Thai would win his first 23 bouts but has since gone 4-4 as his career has began to go backwards and he has suffered recent defeats to Czar Amonsot, Masayoshi Nakatani, George Kambosos and Atchariya Wirojanasunobol all in the last 24 months. As for Paro this is a slight step up in class, but the 22 year old looks a class act and should have the edge in size, power, youth and skills as we go into this bout. A win from Paro is expected, but the real question will be about how he wins.
The Filipino on the other hand is Czar Amonsot (34-4-3, 22). He hasn't had his opponent for the contest announced as of yet, but isn't expected to face much of a test as he competes in a 6 rounder and looks to bounce back from an October 2017 loss to Carlos Manuel Portillo.
Western Australia, Australia
Staying in Australia there will also be a couple of mismatched featuring Indonesian fighters.
One bout will see the under-rated Brandon Ogilvie (19-2-1, 10) take on Indonesian journeyman Rusmin Kie Raha (15-15-3, 3). Although no world beater Ogilvie is certainly not a bad fighter, and his 2016 draw in Tokyo against Yoshitaka Kato was impressive, as was his stoppage win against Pharanpetch Tor Buamas. As for the Indonesian he has suffered 9 stoppage losses in his 15 defeats and has gone 3-13-1 in his last 17 bouts.
The other match up with an Indonesian visitor will see the once beaten Jackson Jon England (4-1, 3) battle against the very limited Arief Blader (23-28-2, 8). Although England was beaten last time out, losing to the then debuting Richard Lockett, he should easily pick up a win here against a very out of form Blader, who has lost his last 6 and has started to collect losses on a very regular basis.
This coming Friday is a relatively low key day of fights,but there is some interesting action in Japan, Australia and the Philippines.
In Japan we will see history being made this coming Friday as Tomomi Takano (10-2, 7) and Miyo Yoshida (7-1) trade blows in the Inaugural JBC Female title fight, with the two fighting for the newly recognised Japanese Female Bantamweight title. Takano is a former world title challenger, and will be favoured by many given her experience and natural size advantages, but Yoshida know this will be a huge opportunity and the bout could be a really thrilling fight, and the perfect way to kick off the new title.
In Victoria we'll see Filipino Czar Amonsot (34-3-3-1, 22) defending his “Interim” WBA Oceania Light Welterweight title against unbeaten Paraguayan Carlos Manuel Portillo (18-0, 14). Amonsot will be fighting for the first time since a No Contest with Martin Enrique Escobar back in July, when a headclash left Amonsot unable to continue in the second round. As for Portillo this will be his first bout outside of Paraguay.
Western Australia, Australia
Staying in Australia, there will be a number of Thai journeymen involved on a card in Western Australia. The show isn't a big one, but it's clear the Thai's, of which there are 4 of them, have been brought in to lose, and only to lose.
Metro Manila, Philippines
In the Philippines fans will get a card that appears to have been delayed from late September. The card has an interesting main event between two fighters who are known better for putting up great efforts in losses, rather than their ability to win, but should put on a really good bout against each other.
That main event will see the criminally over-looked Vergil Puton (16-8, 8) battle against Eduardo Mancito (15-6-2, 9). Of the two men Puton is the better known, and has given problems to the likes of JR Magboo, Ye Joon Kim, Shuya Masaki and Ibrahim Balla, proving his ability as an “opponent”, who comes to win but just falls short. As for Mancito he has suffered losses to Thong Sithluangphophun, Jelbirt Gomera, Alberto Guevara, Tomas Rojas and Rey Vargas. This should be a really fun, competitive and exciting fight, but we suspect Puton will take home the win.
In a supporting bout on this card fans will see Malaysian prospect Aiman Abubakar (5-0, 2) face off with Nestor Junio (1-9-2), in what should be a straight forward win for the unbeaten man.
For fans of the Asian scene the most notable show of the day comes from Thailand where we see an unbeaten Local continue to slowly chase a world title fight,and a battle of veterans.
That unbeaten Thai is Welterweight contender Teerachai Kratingdaenggym (37-0, 28), who appears to have drifted from a world title fight, and will be facing Ramadhani Shauri (22-11-1, 11), of Tanzania. The bout, for the WBA Asia Welterweight title, will be Teerachai's second this year and shows his inactivity during 2017, following 4 bouts last year and the same in 2015. Although he's been out for 5 months he should be far too good for Shauri here.
In a battle of veterans we'll see Les Sherrington (35-10, 19) take on Plaisakda Boonmalert (39-26, 33). Aged 45 and with 21 stoppages against him it's hard to see what the Thai has to offer, but he can bang and Sherrington has been stopped in 9 of his 10 losses. With a combined age of 80 we're not expecting anything fun here, but it looks interesting on paper.
In Australia we'll see talented Filipino Czar Amonsot (34-3-3, 22) defending his interim WBA Oceania Light Welterweight title. At the time of writing his opponent hasn't been announced, so we suspect it could well be a very poor foe for Amonsot, who is slowly grinding his way to a potential world title fight.
Western Australia, Australia
In Western Australia we'll see a number of Asian fighters used to be the “opponent”, with none of them really being given a shot.
One of those is Thai fighter Komkit Chanawong (1-3), who takes on novice Francis Chua (1-0) in a 4 rounder. Another Thai in action here is the debuting Dechsak Sangmorakot (0-0), who takes on fellow novice Francisco Da Silva (1-0).
The third bout featuring an Asian will see Jacob McBride (7-5, 3) take on Indonesia Boido Simanjuntak (23-46-2, 9) in what looks likely to be yet another loss for the Indonesian veteran.
In California we'll see talented Kazakh prospect Meiirim Nursultanov (2-0, 1) take on Lannay Dardar (5-7-2, 3) in a 6 rounder. On paper the bout is a step up for the Kazakh, and it should be known that other top prospects, like Jason Quigley and Esquiva Falcao both stopped Dardar. This is a good chance for the Kazakh to get some rounds with a decent but limited foe.
This coming Friday is an action packed day with a lot of Asian fighters in action.
The most notable action of the day for Asian fight fans comes from Japan where we get an OPBF title fight and two match ups pitting JBC ranked fighters against each other.
The OPBF title fight will see former world title challenger Hidenori Otake (27-2-3, 12) take on once beaten Filipino Jelbirt Gomera (12-1, 6) in a bout for the vacant OPBF Super Bantamweight title, which was recently vacated by Shun Kubo. For Otake the bout will be his first for an OPBF title, though he did have a 2 year reign as the Japanese champion before his most notable bout to date, a loss to Scott Quigg in 2014. Since that loss he has won 5 in a row, though looked poor last time out against Alexander Espinoza. Gomera is a real unknown, with his sole loss coming to the talented Mark Anthony Geraldo and his best win being over tough journeyman Eduardo Mancito. Gomera might be getting this bout at the right time, but Otake will certainly be regarded as the favourite.
In a supporting bout we'll see Shusaku Fujinaka (15-6-2, 10) take on Moon Hyun Yun (17-4-3, 4) in a really mouth watering domestic encounter. Of the two men Fujinaka is the more well known, though that's down to his 7th round KO loss to Randall Bailey from back in 2015 than any wins that he has scored. Yun is a former Japanese title challenger and although he lacks power he has an exciting and will be looking to earn another title fight. This could end up being the fight of the show.
Another bout between Japanese ranked fighters comes at Middleweight where the heavy handed Shinobu Charlie Hosokawa (6-2, 5) takes on former Japanese title challenger Yasuyuki Akiyama (10-7-1, 8). Coming in to this Hosokawa has won his last 4 bouts by stoppage and looks like a man who can carry his power up to at least domestic level. Akiyama has lost his last 3, but has mixed with good company and knows that this is step back down in class from what he has been up against. This could be a very solid fight even if neither man has an out standing record.
Metro Manila, Philippines
Staying in Asia there will also be a low profile card in Metro Manila. The card is a mostly forgettable one, though the main event will see the once beaten Jheritz Chavez (6-1-2, 4) battle against Jonel Gadapan (12-8-2, 8) for the GAB Light Welterweight title. Chavez will be the favourite and he has impressed in recent times, beating both Tatsuya Yanagi and Al Sabaupan in his last 3 bouts. Although the under-dog Gadapan is an upset minded fighter and he holds a recent win of his own over Nelson Tinampay, suggesting he won't be there to roll over, though he has been stopped in 6 of his 8 career losses.
In Moscow fans are in for a genuine treat as OPBF Light Welterweight champion Al Rivera (17-2, 15) takes on Russian Aik Shakhnazaryan (19-2, 10) in a bout for the WBC International title. The heavy handed Rivera impressed last year when he dominated Shinya Iwabuchi for the title, and would go 3-0 (3) for the year scoring not only the win over Iwabuchi but also a solid win over Adones Cabalquinto. Coming in to this the Filipino is on an impressive 7-0 (7) run. The once touted Shakhnazaryan won his first 15 bouts but suffered back-to-back losses in 2015 and has been rebuilding with 4 stoppage wins, but this pormises to be a much tougher bout for the Russian than his last 4.
In Australia we'll see talented Filipino Czar Amonsot (33-3-3, 21) continue to carve out a career down under as he battles 21 year old Hungarian Zsigmond Vass (12-4, 2) in a bout for Amonsot's Interim WBA Oceania title at 140lbs. Coming in to this Vass has beaten nobody of note and been stopped in the opening round in his last 2 losses. Although not widely regarded as a top contender Amonsot is world ranked and has gone 15-0-2 (11) since his memorable war with Michael Katsidis.
Also on this card will be Indonesian Jason Butar Butar (24-21-1, 15), who will be expected to pick up another loss here as he takes on the exciting but limited Joel Brunker (30-2, 17). Whilst Brunker is limited Butar Butar is little more than a record padder on the international stage, and that is likely to be seen again here.
Staying in Australia we'll also see Thai novice Chaiyan Sakkoed (0-3) go for his first win as he takes on the debuting Timacoy Williams (0-0). With 3 straight losses we know Chaiyan is limited, and he's already been stopped in two of those defeats, with a third stoppage loss likely to come here.
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There isn't a lot of action this coming Friday but the key shows is in the Philippines.
The most notable bout of the day will see OPBF Light Welterweight champion Al Rivera (16-2, 14) make the first defense of his title as he takes on Fellow Filipino Adones Cabalquinto (23-2, 15), in what will be the second meeting between these two men. Riveral scored a surprise 2nd round win over Cabalquinto in November 2015 and subsequently went on to batter Shinya Iwabuchi to claim the OPBF title this year. This will be Rivera's first defense of the title and will also give Cabalquinto a chance to avenge his 2015 loss. This could be a really good bout, or another impressive performance from the monstrously heavy handed Rivera who has stopped his last 6
In the chief supporting bout we'll see the out of form Benezer Alolod (16-8-5, 5) battle against fellow struggler Renren Tesorio (15-8-3, 4) in a rubber bout between the two men. The men first fought in 2014, with Alolod taking a split decision win, then rematched in 2015 with Tesorio taking a majority decision. Since their second bout Tesorio has gone 1-2, suffering a 10th round TKO loss to Daigo Higa, whilst Alolod has suffered back to back losses to Koji Itagaki and Richard Claveras.
In another title bout involving a Filipino we'll see Czar Amonsot (32-3-3, 20) battle against Kaewfah Tor Buamas (23-0, 16). The bout will be Amonsot's first defense of the “interim” WBA Oceania Light Welterweight title and could see the winner move towards a potential world title fight, with Amonsot holding a decent world ranking. The bout will be Kaewfah's first bout of real note, though he has been scheduled to face other notable opponents, whilst Amonsot will be looking to extend a 16 fight winning run.
Yet another title fight involving a Filipino will see South African Gideon Buthelezi (17-5, 4) defending his IBO Super Flyweight title against Filipino visitor Jonas Sultan (11-3, 7). The bout is a tough ask for Sultan, given he's on the road here, but he has impressed on the road in the past, giving Go Onaga a very competitive bout last year and stopping Tatsuya Ikemizu earlier this year. It's worth noting that Buthelezi has been stopped by a Filipino before, having been taken out in a round by Edrin Dapudong in 2013
In Australia on Wednesday fight fans will see a trio of Filipino fighters in action.
One of those Filipino's is the once beaten Jeffrey Francisco (14-1-1, 1) take on the heavy handed Jason Moloney (8-0, 8), a former amateur stand out. Francisco may not have a glitzy record but hs isn't a bad fighter and his only loss has come to the criminally under-rated Jestoni Autida, whilst his other mark was a draw on debut. Moloney is tipped to be a star but this could prove to be a good test.
Another Filipino on this show is Markquil Salvana (11-1, 5) who faces another of the Moloney brothers, Andrew Moloney (8-0, 4). The Filipino coming in to this one has lost once, a 5th round TKO defeat to Andrew's brother Jason last year. Salvana will be hoping to avoid a second loss to a Moloney, but Andrew is a very talented fighter much like his brother.
Although both Salvana and Francisco will be the under-dogs in their bouts one Filipino will be favoured going in to his. That's Czar Amonsot (31-3-3, 19) who takes on big punching Dominican Julio De Jesus (24-1, 23). Although De Jesus has an impressive record he was stopped by the only notable name that he's fought, Victor Manuel Cayo. De Jesus will be dangerous but we suspect Amonsot's experience at a higher level will be the difference here.
For a third day running Japanese fans in Tokyo get some interesting action, and in fact it seems the pick of the bunch comes today with a pair of Japanese title fights, one of which has the potential to be a FOTY contender.
That FOTY contender will see Japanese Flyweight champion Takuya Kogawa (25-4, 13), one of the most fan-friendly fighters on the planet, battle former world title challenger Masayuki Kuroda (24-6-3, 14). The bout is expected to be a high action bout with both men being relatively light hitters with good engines and very respectable toughness. Between the two men they have had just a single stoppage loss, suffered by Kuroda against the world ranked Suguru Muranaka, and we're expecting something very exciting here.
The other title bout will see former Japanese Bantamweight champion Kentaro Masuda (23-7, 12) face off against the unbeaten Yushi Tanaka (16-0-3, 10), for the vacant Bantamweight crown. For Masuda this is a chance to reclaim the title he lost last year to Shohei Omori, and it's a chance that he will be slightly favoured to make the most of, whilst Tanaka is seriously stepping up in class. Although unbeaten, and the younger man, Tanaka does lack a notable win against a genuine Bantamweight and this really is a huge step up for him.
In a support bout fans will see a couple of Japanese ranked fighters. One of those is Hiroaki Teshigawara (10-1-2, 5), who will be risking his ranking against Kenichi Watanabe (7-2-1, 4), whilst the other will be the limited but dangerous Takuya Yamaguchi (10-9, 8), who risks his ranking against Ryuto Araya (8-4-1, 1).
In Australia fight fans will see popular Australian based Filipino Czar Amonsot (30-3-3, 18) battle in a 10 round bout, against Fijian Farzan Ali Jr (28-6-2, 19), who hasn't fought many notable name,s but was stopped in 2002 by Vic Darchinyan. This should be a straight forward win for Amonsot who is expected to be back in the ring in April.
Staying with Filipino's on the road the unbeaten Jheritz Chavez (5-0-2, 3) will be in Moscow where he's risking his unbeaten record and his WBC Eurasia Pacific Boxing Council Lightweight title. The 27 year old Chavez will be up against the once beaten Vage Sarukhanyan (12-1-1, 2),who is the interim title holder to Chavez's title. Given this bout is in Russia it's easy to favour the adopted local, originally from Armenia, but Sarukhanyan hans't really proven his quality as of yet and could well be upset by the visitor.
To end the week we get a genuinely busy day with action all across Asia.
The most notable bout of the day comes from Thailand where we get a WBO Bantamweight title fight between hard hitting Japanese slugger Ryo Akaho (26-1-2, 18) and Thai veteran Punluang Sor Singyu (50-3, 34), who is hoping to become a 2-time world champion. On paper it's hard to bet against Akaho, who is big, strong and hits like a mule, however no Japanese fighter has ever won a world title bout in Thailand and it could well be a case of history repeating it's self here.
Also on this show will be two other title bouts. One of those will see Chonlatarn Piriyapinyo (55-2, 36) defending his WBO Asia Pacific Featherweight title as he battles Indonesian visitor Boido Simanjuntak (18-28-1, 7) in what is a clear mismatch. The visitor enters this bout 0-14 on his trips to Thailand whilst Chonlatarn is unbeaten in his homeland and has only lost to world class ighters.
The other title bout will see the once beaten Kwanpichit Onesongchaigym (31-1-2, 16) defending his WBO Oriental Flyweight title as he continues to rebuild following his 2014 loss to Chinese star Zou Shiming.
Whilst the biggest bout of the day is in Thailand the best card is actually in Dubai as ALA return to the oil rich emirate and show case some of their most exciting fighters.
The most exciting of the fighters on this card is the unbeaten Super Bantamweight hopeful Albert Pagara (23-0, 16). The 21 year old “Prince” Albert will be defending his IBF Inter-Continental title against Mexican challenger Jesus Rios (31-7-1, 25), who is expected to supper his 8th stoppage loss. Given the ability of Pagara we would like to see him step up in a class but that was never likely on this particular card
Albert's older brother Jason Pagara (35-2, 22) will also be in action as he battles Ramiro Alcaraz (15-4-1, 9) in what amounts to a 10 round stay busy contest at a contracted 143lbs. The bout is really little more than a ticking over bout for Pagara who is world ranked by the WBO and could potentially get a world title fight sooner rather than later.
One other notable name on this card is Jimrex Jaca (39-8-4, 22) who battles 24 year old foe Pablo Lugo Montiel (21-5, 17). On paper this looks a lot tastier than than the other two major bouts however Montiel has gone 4-4 in his last 8 and going through his record shows that he hasn't scored a win of any real note so far
There will also action at the Korakuen Hall in Tokyo where fans get the chance to see several crossroad bouts.
The most exciting bout on the card will see former Japanese title contenders collide in what is essentially a Japanese title eliminator at 122lbs. In one corner is Gakuya Furuhashi (17-5-1, 7), who was recently held to a draw by current champion Yukinori Oguni, whilst in the other corner will be Yasutaka Ishimoto (25-8, 7), who was narrowly beaten by Oguni last year. This bout may not be one that gets international attention but the winner will be regarded as a fringe contender on the world scene and could well end up getting a national title fight next year before a possible step up to a world title fight at some point. This will be a relatively tactical affair but a very good fight all the same.
Another intriguing match up on this card is a rematch of a Japanese Middleweight contest that is a must win for both men. In one corner for this bout is the criminally under-rated Hikaru Nishida (12-7-1, 4) who looks to score his second win over former OPBF and Japanese champion Makoto Fuchigami (21-10, 12), who is best known for his loss in a world title bout to Gennady Golovkin. On paper it's easy to back Fuchigami but in their first meeting Nishida won a unanimous decision and has gone 6-1 in his last 7 whilst Fuchigami has struggled for form with 4 losses in his last 6.
On the under-card there are two novices who are expected to receive notable attention. One of those is the unbeaten Kohei Kashino (2-0, 1), who battles Hizuki Saso (4-1), and the other is Riyako Goshi (3-3), who faces Chie Higano (3-3). Kashino is, from what we understand, a highly qualified young man who is attempting to make his name in boxing whilst Goshi is a model known for risque pictures, and always seems to get more attention than her talent deserves.
We also have two bouts in Australia featuring Asian fighters.
The most notable of those fights is a PABA Light Welterweight title fight that sees the talented Czar Amonsot (28-3-3, 17) battle against Indonesian fighter Rusmin Kie Raha (14-7-2, 3). It's hard to see what Raha has to really test Amonsot but the Filipino has everything to lose and nothing to gain from this bout.
Another Filipino in action on this card is Roberto Lerio (16-21-1, 6) who looks to upset the unbeaten Ibrahim Balla (7-0, 5) in a bout for the Australian Super Bantamweight title. Lerio, who is based in Australia, is the clear under-dog but will know that a win here will open up some really good opportunities for him in Mexico.
(Image courtesy of www.onesongchai.com)