The biggest names in action this Saturday are in the US though the day is, to be fair, one packed with fights all over the globe with numerous top names and some very promising bouts.
The most notable bout of the day for Asian fight fans is likely to be in Nevada where former Russian amateur standout Matt Korobov (24-0, 14) fights against popular Irish fighter Andy Lee (33-2, 23) in a contest for the WBO Middleweight title. The belt was given up by former champion Peter Quillin, who elected not to face Korobov in a mandatory title fight, and as a result we've got this compelling bout which is sure to send the winner into big fights whilst the loser could find themselves struggling to remain relevant in 2015.
On the same card former world title challenger Denis Shafikov (34-1-1, 19) will be fighting in a stay busy fight against the heavy handed Miguel Angel Mendoza (21-4-2, 21). On paper this looks like a great contest, in reality however Mendoza is unlikely to give Shafikov many problems and has gone 3-4-1 in his last 8 bouts, suggesting his power doesn't carry up when he steps up in class.
On a separate Nevada show we will see two more fighters of major interest in action, albeit on an untelevised portion of a card.
One of those men is former WBA Light Heavyweight champion Beibut Shumenov (14-2, 9) who will be making his Cruiserweight debut as he battles against Bobby Thomas Jr (14-2-1, 9). For Shumenov this will be his first bout following the loss of his world title to Bernard Hopkins earlier this year. We're hoping to see a better version of Shumenov here than we did last time out however he has often failed to impress due to a lack of technical ability and this could be shown up markedly at the higher weight.
The other man is the always fun to watch Yoshihiro Kamegai (24-2-1, 21) who will be up against Oscar Godoy (13-3, 6) in what appears to be a straight forward win for the popular Japanese brawler. For Kamegai this will be his 5th bout in the US and we suspect that is he wins he will be back on American TV next year courtesy of his fan friendly style which would be very fun to watch against someone like Keith Thurman.
Eastern Cape, South Africa
In South Africa we see a rematch of one of the biggest shocks of the year as Rey Loreto (19-13, 11) battles against former IBF Minimumweight champion Nkosinathi Joyi (24-3-0-1, 17). Earlier this year Loreto shocked the boxing world by knocking out Joyi in Monaco and will be hoping to repeat the feat here as he looks for the first defense of his IBO Light Flyweight title. This one could end up being the fight of the night though we suspect a focused Joyi will fight carefully and take a cautious decision over the dangerous and under-rated Filipino puncher.
In Japan fans get a very disappointing show headlined by OPBF and Japanese ranked Super Featherweight contender Satoru Sugita (8-2-1, 5) who will be fighting Akira Shono (7-6-2, 4). Sugita is looking to build on his upset win over Ryota Kajiki in April and really should win here against a man who has won just 2 of his last 7 bouts.
The rest of this card is very weak we're afraid though it is a long under-card with 9 other bouts.
Mindoro Occidental, Philippines
In the Mindoro Occidental fans get a low level yet interesting card with a few notable contests.
For us the stand out bout is an 8 rounder between the unbeaten Jeffrey Galero (11-0, 5) and the once beaten Charles Canedo (7-1, 4). Galero is touted prospect who recently defeated Donny Mabao in what was his best victory to date and although Canedo was stopped last time out this does look like a good test for Canedo against a man who we suspect will be fighting for redemption.
Although we're excited about the Galero/Canedo fight it's not the main event, in fact it's not one of the 3 bouts scheduled for 10 rounds. Those include an an interesting contest between the heavy handed Jeson Umbal (7-2, 6) and the more experienced Jecker Buhawe (15-10-1, 10). This should be a good bout on the Filipino domestic scene even if those outside of the Philippines aren't likely to take much of an interest.
As well as the two bouts we've gone into some small details on this card is set to feature a further 5 contests.
Metro Manila, Philippines
On a second show in Philippines we appear to be in for a bit more action with 2 domestic title bouts.
One of those bouts comes at Light Flyweight where GAB champion Benezer Alolod (15-5-5, 5) battles against Renren Tesorio (13-5-3, 4). Alolod has been in fine form recently with 3 wins and a draw since he was stopped by Nkosinathi Joy. Of those wins all 3 have come by stoppage, including a 5th round victory over Jomar Fajardo, who recently gave Francisco Rodriguez Jr hell, and a 3rd round victory over Jerson Mancio, who is best known for losing to Naoya Inoue in an OPBF title bout. As for Tesorio it's fair to say he needs a win and is 2-4-1 in his last 7.
The other title bout sees GAB Welterweight champion Dan Nazareno Jr (20-12, 16) defending his belt against the limited Dennis Padua (9-9-2, 4). Nazareno is a heavy handed and solid fighter when he's on song but is one of those inconsistent types who can blow very cold We think even the worse Nazareno should be able over come Padua who has lost his last 7 straight and gone 1-8-1 in his last 10.
In Australia fans will see the experienced Chaiyong Sithsaithong (35-12-4, 25) in action though his opponent is currently unknown.
The most important bout of the day sees two Russians battling in a very interesting Lightweight contest in the US. The bout will see Rustam Nugaev (27-6-1, 17) fighting against recent title challenger Denis Shafikov (33-1-1, 18). The winner is likely to be 1 fight away from a bout with Miguel Vaquez though we don't imagine either man will have the ability to get a win over Vazquez if they manage to secure a fight with him. Ignoring the eliminator status of the contest it's a great little contest between two men each looking to prove themselves as a world class Lightweight and a win over the other man should manage to do that.
Pathum Thani, Thailand
In Thailand the unbeaten Thewa Onesongchaigym (5-0, 1) will be hoping to claim the WBC Asian Boxing Council Featherweight as he takes on Xian Wei Qian (4-3-1). The bout looks like a good test for Thewa but one that he should manage to pass courtesy of his more impressive skills.
In an under-card bout the former world title challenger Chonlatarn Piriyapinyo (51-1, 33) will be battling against Wang Yi Ming (2-2, 2). This should be an easy stay busy win for the Thai veteran though seems like another distraction before a possible world title challenger or eliminator. Another undercard bout will see the unbeaten Kwanpichit OnesongchiGym (27-0-2, 12) face off against he win-less Saichon Or Ounsuwon (0-18).
A third under-card bout will see Teeraporn Pannimit (18-7, 5) fighting against Napaporn Superchamps (9-8, 2). This will be the third meeting between these two women and so far Teeraporn is winning the series 2-0.
In Australia we again see a bunch of mismatched Thai's being used to pad records of some local fighters. The biggest of the mismatches comes in a female bout as former world champion Susie Ramadan (23-1, 8) takes on unbeaten novice Muaylek Sithsaithong (3-0, 1). Muaylek is the second successive Thai that Ramadan will have faced but this will be her first bout in more than 2 years.
Another of the Thai's is Patomsith Pathompothong (9-1, 4) who battles the unbeaten Ibrahim Balla (5-0, 4). This will be Patomsith's first bout outside of Thailand and we can't see him over-coming the very promising Balla, though this is the most competitive of he three bouts. The third bout will see journeyman Ngaotawan Sithsaithong (10-14-1, 5) fighting against Australian debutant Jason Moloney (0-0) in what looks little more than a foregone conclusion.
It's not rare in boxing to have action all over the place but one show gets all the headlines. That's the case this weekend as we get one massive blockbuster of a show that has been stealing the headlines for weeks and been by far the most anticipated show of the year so far. Whilst that, admittedly, isn't saying much considering how slow the year has been, this is still a huge and really notable show and there is no real shame in ignoring most other shows to pay attention to just the one.
The show in question is the massive "Ring of Gold" show in Macau's amazing Venetian Resort. The resort, which is one of the biggest buildings on the planet looks good with out boxing though this Saturday it will look even better with 3-Olympic champions, 3 title bouts, 2 former world champions, one world title and 9 different countries being represented! This is what global boxing is all about!
The card kicks off with a Super Flyweight contest scheduled for 8 rounds. This bout sees Jerwin Ancajas (18-1-1, 10) fighting against Inthanon Sithchamuang (20-6, 11) in what we expect to be a relatively straight forward victory for Ancajas. Although he has lost one and drawn one Ancajas is a real talent and the draw, a technical draw, came very early in his career whilst his loss was a narrow one to the very under-rated Mark Anthony Geraldo. He's a very solid and improving fighter who will title aspirations.
Following the cards opener we expect to see Harmonito Dela Torre (11-0, 6) fighting against Indonesia's Yakobus Heluka (7-5, 3) in a 6 round bout at Super Featherweight. We do like Dela Torre a lot, though wonder what the point of this bout is and whether Heluka is even fit to fight having recently been stopped in Japan. By "recently" we mean less than 4 weeks ago and we don't think Heluka could possibly have recovered in that time.
We're expecting at least one of those two to end early and if it does we could see the "swing bout" moved up to being the show's third bout. The swing contest is between Macao's very own Kuok Kun Ng (2-0) and Indonesian Rocky Alap Alap (5-10). Although neither has a stoppage to their name we wouldn't be shocked if Ng did stop Alap Alap inside the scheduled 4 rounds. In fact we'd be more shocked if Alap Alap was dwarfed in the ring by a much bigger fighter.
The reason we're expect the swing bout to be so early is because the next scheduled bout is Ryota Murata's (2-0, 2) contest which has got a set aside time slot to appease Fuji TV. The bout, which will start at around 7PM local time, sees Murata fighting against former world title challenger Carlos Nascimento (29-3, 23) in what looks like a good step up for Murata. Unfortunately the bout isn't likely to be as testing as it looks as Nascimento is 40 years old and several years past his best though it's still a positive step up from the Japanese Olympic champion.
After Murata's bout we get the show's first title bout as Hong Kong's insanely popular Rex Tso (11-0, 7) battles Japan's Mako Matsuyama (7-7-1, 3). On the line here is Tso's WBC Asia Council Continental Super Flyweight title and the vacant WBO Asia Pacific Super Flyweight title as well as Tso's recent WBO world ranking. At lost at stake forTso but the expectation is that he will easily cope with Matsuyama.
Following the first title fight we're then scheduled to go to the second title bout which see's former world champions colliding in the best looking contest on the show. This bout sees former WBA Super Bantamweight champion Akifumi Shimoda (28-3-2, 12) fighting Filipino power puncher Marvin Sonsona (17-1-1, 14), himself a former WBO Super Flyweight champion. The winner of this bout will likely be moved to within a fight or two of a world title bout, though will immediately claim the WBO International Featherweight title and a big boost to any possible WBO rankings that they have.
The Shimoda/Sonsona bout is followed by the second Olympic champion on the show as Egor Mekhontsev (1-0, 1) faces unbeaten Thai Atthaporn Jaritram (4-0, 1). On paper this is an interesting bout between unbeaten fighters but in reality it's hard to see anything but an impressive victory for the talented and much more experienced Russian who was a former standout amateur and multi-medal winning fighter in the unpaid ranks.
Mekhontsev's contest merely gives us a break between title fights before his fellow Russian Denis Shafikov (33-0-1, 18) attempts to claim his biggest victory as a professional. Shafikov, fighting in his first world title fight will be hoping to dethrone talented and rangy Mexican Miguel Vazquez (33-3, 13) of the IBF Lightweight in what promises to be an incredibly interesting and tough contest. Interesting since this bout was first listed on the sports books the odds have closed remarkably and there are many smelling a possible upset here.
The main event, scheduled to take place at 10PM local time, is to be local star Zou Shiming (3-0) fighting Thai teenager Yokthong Kokietgym (15-3, 11). On paper this looks like a huge leap of faith from Shiming's side but when you consider Japanese youngster Ryuji Hara stopped Yokthong in 2 rounds it's fair to assume that Shiming's team have just been very cynical with their match making. Oddly one of our writers has gone against the tide and confidently predicted Yokthong to win, be the rest of us aren't buying it.
As we said when we started this, the Macau card is the big, but it's not the only one with one also taking place in the very pleasantly named Peoples Park in Baguio City. The card, expected to feature 6 contests has just one of note and that's the bout featuring Rex Wao (7-0, 6) who will be attempting to extend his unbeaten record as he fights Gerry Pateno (4-5-2, 2). Wao has stopped his last 5 and some in the Philippines are very excited by him. Hopefully another win here, in style, will see him given more notable opportunities in the near future.
Outside of Asia we're also expecting to see Tajikistan's Azamat Umarzade (0-1) in action. Umarzade, who has been inactive since losing on debut back in 2010 is being matched with Joey Ruelas (6-0-1, 3) in what is one of the most pointless matches we can ever remember mentioning on this site.