This coming Saturday isn't a huge day for fights involving Asian fighters, but it is a pretty interesting day with thanks to other fights, including the Heavyweight debut of Oleksandr Usyk.
On the same card as Usyk's Heavyweight debut will be a WBA Light Heavyweight world title defense for Dmitry Bivol (16-0, 11), who takes on the unheralded Lenin Castillo (20-2-1, 15). On paper this isn't the bout that Bivol, and his fans, would have wanted but it should still be a good test against a big, talented and tough challenger. Castillo isn't well known, but has never been stopped and gave Marcus Browne a really competitive test. Bivol will, obviously, be strongly favoured here but he will have to work hard for the win against a capable, yet relatively obscure, challenger. Our full preview of this bout can be read here Will Bivol be tested by unheralded Castillo?
The biggest Asian card for the day takes place Kazakhstan as MTK go to Almaty for a pretty notable, yet not hugely exciting, show.
The main event here will see the hard hitting and unbeaten Ali Baloyev (9-0, 7) take on Venezuelan veteran Gusmyr Perdomo (26-9, 17). Baloyev is a genuine one to watch, and on paper this is a credible step up in class for him, after a string of relative limited opponents. Despite that it does need noting that Perdomo is now 42 and it's more than a decade ago that he fought Mikkel Kessler. Perdomo was once a solid fighter but now he's an old man and will have to rely on wiles to survive with Baloyev.
In an 8 round support bout we'll see Abilkhaiyr Shegaliyev (6-0, 4) likely pick up a straight forward win as he takes on Georgian Sandro Jajanidze (5-19-1, 3). It's hard to see anything but a win for Shegaliyev, but Jajanidze is a tough, rugged guy and could well see out the distance with the Kazakh prospect.
Arguably the pick of the bouts will see Chinese-Kazakh fighter Yelieqiati Nihemaituola (14-0-1, 5) take on Filipino Ryan Rey Ponteras (22-14-3, 11). On paper this is a horrible mismatch, but paper only tells half the story and Ponteras is an upset minded Filipino who travels to win, and he will be here looking to end the unbeaten run of his foe. Whilst Ponteras was stopped last time out, by Seiya Tsutsumi, we still expect to see a gutsy, determined and rough effort from him and this could be a much better fight than it looks on paper.
Others on this card include unbeaten hopefuls Nurtas Azhbenov (6-0, 2), Hurshid Tojibaev (2-0, 1) and the debuting pair of Nurdos Tolebay (0-0) and Miras Ali Sarsenov (0-0). These 4 are tipped for big things, especially Tojibaev and Sarsenov who both had very strong amateur careers, and it's going to be interesting to follow their progress. Sadly however MTK aren't known for pushing their prospects quickly, and it could be a while until we see any of these talented fighters given a serious test.
Metro Manila, Philippines
Over in the Philippines we'll see a small yet noteworthy card.
In the main event we'll see former world title challenger Denver Cuello (38-5-6, 26) take on Jesse Espinas (19-4, 11) in an IBO world title eliminator. Cuello has only fought 3 times in the last 4 years and although he's not the fighter he once was the 32 year old southpaw is still a very dangerous and will know that a win will open doors for him. Espinas on the other hand will be looking to bounce back from successive defeats and will know that another loss here will be hard to bounce back from. A very interesting match up
One of the other notable bouts here will see Cris Alfante (17-7-1, 9) take on Mateo Handig (15-19, 9). The 27 year old Alfante has reeled off 3 straight stoppage wins since his last loss, to Ardin Diale, and despite his less than stellar record he is 6-1 since a June 2016 loss to Andrew Moloney. Handig is no push over, but with 3 straight losses, and only 3 wins since an upset loss over Katsunari Takayama back in 2012, he's not expected to be competitive here.
In a more interesting bout on the same card we'll see the unbeaten Ranelio Quizo (6-0, 1) take on Ronel Dela Cruz (6-1-1, 4). The 21 year old Quizo is unbeaten since his debut in early 2018 but this is a step up in class for him. On the hand Dela Cruz is 1-1-1 in his last 3, but is certainly no push over, he was just unlucky to face April Jay Abne last time out in a Ultimate Boxing Series bout, with Abne winning the tournament this past August. This is a really, really match up.
Negros Occidental, Philippines
A second Filipino card is set to be headlined by a match up between will see the hard hitting, but technically flawed, Joepher Montano (10-5-2, 9) take on former OPBF title challenger Benjie Suganob (10-7-1, 5). Given that Suganob's biggest bout to date took place at 122lbs it's hard to see what he has to offer at 140lbs, the weight for this bout.
Yanggu, South Korea
Another Asian card will take place in South Korea, and this is another less than great card.
The main event will see unbeaten Korean fighter Hye Soo Park (5-8-1, 1) take on Chinese visitor Jinyan Gao (2-1) in a bout for the WIBA Super Flyweight title. The Korean took the bout on short notice, after the unbeaten Soo Rin Kim was forced to pull out of the bout with around 10 days notice due to a back issue, and is likely to be too small for the naturally bigger Chinese fighter.
A second title fight will see Yong Hwan Jun (5-4-1, 2) make his first defense of the KBM Welterweight title, as he takes on Hae Myung Jung (3-1-1, 1). Jun won the title last time out, when he defeated Dong Young Kang over 10 rounds, but didn't really blow anyone away with his performance. The challenge was actually held to a draw last time out, when he failed to get past Gi Won Shin. This should be competitive, but it's hard to get too excited about the contest, and it showed how much the Korean scene needs to work together to have a decent domestic title picture.
New South Wales, Australia
At the East Cessnock Bowling Club in New South Wales we see two Indian fighters in action.
One of those Indian fighters is the unbeaten Sagar Narwat (9-0-1, 3), who takes on fellow unbeaten fighter Troy O'Meley (9-0, 2) in a good looking bout, but one that perhaps isn't as interesting as it looks. Narwat began his career in the Philippines, but his last 6 bouts have been in India and have all been against very limited opposition. O'Meley has also faced mostly limited opposition, though he got through a bit of a gut check last time out when he was pushed hard in a 6 rounder against Isaac Buckley. This looks good, and may turn out to be good, but really both men have mostly padded their records.
The other Indian on this card is Shivani Dahiya (1-1) who is up against it here, as she takes on Bianca Elmir (4-1, 3). On paper this doesn't look much of a mismatch, but Elmir ran Shannon O'Connell close just 2 fights ago and should have way too much for Dahiya here.
New South Wales, Australia
Also in Australia we'll see once beaten local Tyson Lantry (7-1, 3) take on Filipino visitor Rodynie Rafol (13-7-2, 6), on a separate show in New South Wales. This bout, for the lightly regarded WBF Asia Pacific Lightweight title, looks like a mismatch and we would be surprised by anything but a win for the local. Coming in Lantry has won his last 6, since a stoppage loss in his second pro-bout, whilst Rafol has lost 2 of his last 3, and has only had 1 win since 2015. Notably however Rafol's only recent win was an upset in Australia against James MacDonald, over a year ago.
In Rizal we'll see a former world champion and a former world title challenger in action.
The former world title challenger is Denver Cuello (36-5-6, 24), who takes on Jack Amisa (21-45-2, 14). This will be Cuello's first fight since June 2015, when he beat Boy Tanto, and he will be looking to roll back the clock in a big way. He was once regarded as the most exciting little man in the sport, but his career was plagued by injuries that prevented him from fulfilling the promise he once had. A 15% of what he was Cuello should still have too much for Amisa, but clearly this is about more than just winning, and is likely to be the start of an comeback for Cuello, who has a lot of lost time to make up for.
As for the world champion on this card, that's former WBC Flyweight champion Sonny Boy Jaro (44-14-5, 31), who looks to continue his career with a bout against limited Indonesian foe Frans Damur Palue (15-21-3, 10). At 36 years old Jaro has certainly seen better days, and is now 7 years removed from his huge upset win over Pongsaklek Wonjongkam, but should still have too much for Palue, who was stopped in 2 rounds by Akira Yaegashi a year ago.
One other bout of note will see the unbeaten KJ Natuplag (7-0-2, 6) battle against the much more experienced Robert Udtohan (24-5-3, 15). On paper this looks a really tough test for Natuplag, but it should be noted that Udtohan has lost 4 of his last 5, including his last 3. Given how hard hitting the unbeaten 22 year old Natuplag is, this should be a straight forward win for the rising hopeful.
Trujillo Alto, Puerto Rico
Staying with Filipino's it's worth noting that unbeaten Filipino youngster Robert Paradero (17-0, 11) is set to face Wilfredo Mendez (11-1, 4), in a bout that has been rearranged a number of times already. This was originally meant to take place back in January as a world title eliminator, though visa issues has caused it to be delayed a few times, and hopefully it will take place this time, rather than slipping again. This bout has been previewed here Mendez and Paradero to battle for shot at WBO crown!
Western Australia, Australia
In Australia we have a few bouts of note.
One of those will see once beaten Australian Jackson Jon England (8-1, 4) take on Indonesian journeyman Rivo Rengkung (37-29-6, 14). The 34 year old Rengkung has lost his last 3, and 6 of his last 7, but does usually come to give an effort and went the 8 round distance with Luke Jackson in December. The 21 year old Jackson isn't a puncher but is a promising prospect and should secure a 5th straight win here.
Another local hopeful facing an Asian visitor is Michael Kaplan (6-1), who takes on Muhammad Wahid (4-1, 1), who like Rengkung is from Indonesia. Wahid is 0-1 outside of Indonesia, but has got a bit of talent and could be a potential banana skin for Kaplan, who is facing his first opponent with a winning record.
One other bout involving an Asian will see unbeaten Australian Steve Gago (9-0, 4) battle against Indonesian veteran Heri Andriyanto (24-28-2, 11). Andriyanto has been collecting a lot of losses in recent years, losing 8 of his last 10 including a defeats to Koki Inoue and Downua Ruawaiking, and we suspect another defeat will come here to Gago.
The lull in action comes to a notable end this Saturday with major fights across Asia.
The most significant bout for us comes form Thailand where we get a mouth watering IBF Flyweight title bout between one of the most explosive lighter weight fighters and one of the trickiest. The bout will see unbeaten champion Amnat Ruenroeng (15-0, 5) defending his title for the 4th time as he takes on exciting Filipino Johnriel Casimero (21-2, 13). This is one of the best match ups this year though the big question is whether or not Casimero can solve the puzzle set by the tricky Thai. If Casimero is to win he will likely need a KO, though he does have the power to score one. If Amnat can control the pace of the bout and the range he'll like continue his run of notching impressive victory, despite not managing to really set the world alight with his style.
Whilst the main event is great there are other interesting bouts of note on the under-card. One of which is debut of 2004 Olympic gold medal winner Manus Boonjumnong (0-0) who debuts in a Middleweight bout against Indonesian journeyman Jamed Jalarante (23-18-1, 11). Aged 34 we don't expect Manus to become the star that her perhaps could have been, but this should still prove to be an interesting match up.
A big name on this under-card is exciting Filipino Denver Cuello (35-5-6, 23), who battles Boy Tanto (9-16, 1). This is a stay busy fight for Cuello who is expected to to get a world title eliminator in the fall and a possible world title bout in December, against Thailand's very own Wanheng Menayothin.
Also on the card are two Kiatkreerin prospects, Atchariya Virotesunobon (3-0, 1) and Denchana Chanadejgym (1-0). Atchariya will be up against will be up against Stevi Ongen Ferdinandus (16-8-1, 8) in what is a good step up for the young unbeaten fighter
Jeollanam-do, South Korea
On a KBC sanctioned show, fans will see some international action.
In the main event fans will see Eun Hye Lee (7-0, 2) battling against Thai visitor Ploynapa Sakrungrueng (12-5-1, 1) in a contest for the WBO female Light Flyweight title. The bout is as low key of a “world” title bout that we've seen this year yet a win for Lee will further strengthen the standing of female boxing in South Korea. Interestingly this will be Ploynapa's 4th bout in Korea, where she currently has a 0-3 record with all 3 losses coming in title bouts.
This show was originally scheduled for a date back in May though Lee suffered an injury which forced it to be pushed back a month.
Also on this show will be a Korean Middleweight title bout and some form of regional title bout, though unfortunately we're unsure which title.
A second south Korean show will also be headlined by a female title bout as Ji Hyun Park (21-2, 6) defends her IFBA and WIBA titles at 102lbs against Filipino fighter Gretchen Abaniel (15-7, 6). This show, sanctioned by the KBA, is listed on boxrec as being unsanctioned and is likely to be the only bout that the records website will list though we have been assured other contests will take place on the card.
Metro Manila, Philippines
In Manila fans will see Japanese puncher Tosho Makoto Aoki (19-12-2, 16) defending his WBC Asian Boxing Council Lightweight title against Indonesian fighter Eddy Comaro (32-12-5, 13). It's hard to see Aoki losing here, though at 36 another loss will be the end for him.
In Australia Asian fighters “make up the numbers” in a number of bouts.
One of those bouts will see Australian based Filipino Jack Asis (33-18-5, 18) in action against Indonesian journeyman Hero Tito (9-6-1, 3). Tito, best known for his loss to Ik Yang in Macau, really shouldn't have anything to trouble Asis who has been in inspired form over the last 4 years with a 12-0-1 run. A run that we expect will continue here.
Another of the bouts will see China's Xu Chan (5-2) take on the unbeaten Kris George (7-0, 5) in a bout for the WBA Oceania Light Welterweight title. Unfortunate for Chan we really cannot give him much of a chance here.
Another Chinese fighter here is southpaw Wang Xinghua (11-11-1) who battles against Will Young (4-4, 2) in an interestingly matched 8 round affair. Young will be the favourite but neither guy is great and as a result we could get a very competitive match up here.
(Image courtesy of Thairec.com)
Some days are busy, this coming Sunday is one such day with a host of bouts through out Asia, even if they aren't the biggest fights of the year.
The most interesting of the numerous Asian shows today will come from the Philippines where we see one of the sport's most exciting little men in action.
The aforementioned little man is Filipino slugger Denver Cuello (34-5-6, 22) who will be fighting against experienced Indonesian journeyman Samuel Tehuayo (18-27-2, 3) in a 10 round bout. This will be Cuello's second bout in quick succession this year having lost more than a year of his career to inactivity following a nasty arm injury that he suffered in a WBC world title fight in 2013 against Xiong Zhao Zhong. As for Tehuayo, AKA Sammy Hagler, this will be his second fight this month following a loss to Pigmy Kokietgym back on November 14th.
The co-feature bout on this show is also a notable one as former WBC Flyweight champion Sonny Boy Jaro (37-13-5, 27) battles against Arjet Caballes (6-31-5, 3) in another complete and utter mismatch.
An interesting under-card bout here will see the unbeaten Kyota Otsuka (4-0, 2) fighting against the much more experienced Ricky Oyan (4-22-2, 2). On paper this is a a good step up for Otsuka but it's a step up he should manage with out too many problems.
In Ishikawa, on one of the three Japanese shows, we see a number of bouts featuring international fighters.
The main event will feature promising Filipino Daryl Basadre (13-1-1, 9) fighting against unbeaten Thai Yodsingdaeng Jor Chaijinda (6-0, 4) in what looks to be a genuinely interesting contest for the WBC Youth Bantamweight. Basadre is unbeaten since being stopped by Suriyan Sor Rungvisai back in September 2013 and has since ran up 4 wins, 3 by stoppage, as he's redeveloped his confidence. Yodsingdaeng is a bit of a mystery Thai though hopefully will prove to be better than some other Thai's we've seen fighting on the road recently.
The show will also feature two other bouts between a Filipinos and Thais. One will see Mark Gil Melligen (20-4-1, 11) battling against a Thai opponent, though sadly one we haven't the name of. The other will see the very exciting and promising Neil John Tabanao (9-0, 6) fighting against the win-less Tienchai Sor Kanitsorn (0-3). We suspect we'll see the Filipino's going 3-0 here.
The 5 other bouts on this card will see Japanese fighters fighting against Chinese fighters. The most notable of these bouts is a 6 rounder between Yukiya Hanabusa (6-2-2, 1) battle against Chinese novice Xu Yuan Cai (0-1).
Zamboanga del Sur, Philippines
A second Filipino card is going to be held in Zamboanga and will be headlined by a bout between the unbeaten and promising Dexter Alimento (6-0, 4) and the limited but experienced Jherom Tuyor (6-19-2, 3) in what we suspect will be a relatively straight forward win for the unbeaten man.
A second Japanese show comes from Tochigi and is only a small one featuring a total of 7 bouts, though only 2 are worth noting.
The main event here is a 10 round featuring OPBF ranked Super Featherweight contender Yoshitomo Watanabe (5-1, 4). The 22 year old Japanese fighter will be fighting against a Thai opponent though unfortunately we don't have any information about the Thai in this bout.
In the chief support bout fans will get an 8 rounder between Yuki Furuya (6-6, 2) and Masahide Shinabe (6-11-2, 3). This isn't a great bout on paper but it should give the fans something to enjoy before the main event.
In Kagoshima we get the weakest of the three Japanese cards. The show will also feature 7 bouts and it's most notable bouts are both relatively poor.
One of the co-features will see Naoya Haruguchi (5-5, 2) fighting against Takeshi Nakayama (3-6-2, 1) whilst the other will see Tomohiro Nagakari (6-2, 1) battling against Takuya Taniguchi (4-5-1, 1). Both of these bouts are 6 rounders and sadly it does leave us feeling under-whelmed with nothing on the show being particularly interesting.
In China there is a small show as well, with yet more Chinese fighters in action. That card, from Wuhan, appears to have a number of novices in action with no real stand out bout.
One of those novices is Wang Kun (1-1, 1) who will be battling against limited Georgian Giorgi Gochishvili (3-4-2, 1) in an interesting 8 rounder. Kun fought both of his bouts in 2012 and will be returning to the ring after a notable break. Gochishvili started his career 3-0 though has failed to record a win in his last 6 bouts and suspect that run will be continue here.
The other bout will see A Mu (0-0) making his debut. The debuting Chinese fighter will be in action against Georgian visitor Renat Samedovi (10-11-1, 3). We suspect that Mu will be given a good test here and this isn't a gimme as we would usually see from a debutant.
Eastern Cape, South Africa
We get two more Asian fighters in action in South Africa as we get a pair of IBO title fights, strange the Asian's on this show have actually fought each other in the past.
One of the fighters is is the heavy handed Filipino hopeful Marbon Bodiongan (11-1-2, 9) who will be fighting against Xolani Mcotheli (10-1, 8) in a bout for the IBO Super Featherweight title. This is a great bout on paper and one we're excited by given that both guys are talented and both guys appear to have real power.
The other Asian on this show is another Filipino, the talented and very promising Michael Dasmarinas (18-1, 11) challenging for the IBO Super Flyweight title against Lwandile Sityatha (17-3-1, 7). Dasmarinas was actually stopped by Bodiongan back in April 2012 though has since ran off 15 straight wins, including an impressive one on the road against Hayato Kimura in Japan. Sityatha comes into this bout following a very narrow win over Edrin Dapudong and we suspect Dasmarinas has been given a heads up about how the South African fighters ahead of this coming contest.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
Although Asian action today comes from the Philippines with a single interesting looking show from Davao del Sur.
Davao del Sur, Philippines
The show that been put together to show off three of the biggest punching Filipino fighters all of whom will be expected to score wins and move on to bigger and better fights later in the year.
One of the men in action will be IBO Light Flyweight champion Rey Loreto (18-13, 10) who will be fighting for the first time since he iced Nkosinathi Joyi way back in February. Loereto, who has beaten former world champions in his last two bouts, will be fighting the tough but limited Heri Amol (34-19-4, 14) in what should be a good fight to shake the ring rust for Loreto more than anything else. For Amol this will be his 7th bout of the year, and his second since being dominated by Japanese debutant Ken Shiro and we suspect this will be his 6th straight loss.
Another man in action will be former IBO Super Flyweight champion Edrin Dapudong (29-6, 17) who should make light work of Thailand's limited Wisanlek Sithsaithong (11-5, 6). For Dapudong this is a stay busy fight before a probable rematch with South African Lwandile Sityatha, who beat Dapudong earlier this year. Although Wisanlek comes into this bout with an 11 fight winning streak his opponents have been dire, to say the least, and he cannot been seen as a real threat to the Filipino fighter known as "The Sting".
The third bout of note will see the return to the ring of the usually fun to watch Denver Cuello (33-5-6, 21) who has been inactive since losing a WBC world title fight against Xiong Zhao Zhong. Cuello will be taking on Thai novice Jaipetch Chaiyonggym (3-1, 2) in what looks like a pointless contest though it's really a test for Cuello's body after having had serious issues with one of his arms in his last 3 contests, including the Zhong fight and his narrow win over Takashi Kunishige. If Zhong is the fighter he once was then we feel he has the ability to become a world champion, however if his injury continues to be a problem then there is no saying he could even beat a journeyman, unfortunately.
On the under card we know of two other bouts which both feature an interesting fighter.
The most notable of those fighters is former world title challenger Rommel Asenjo (25-3, 20) who will be battling against fellow Filipino Richard Rosales (8-2-2, 3). Asenjo comes in to this bout on the back of a 5 fight winning streak following a 3rd round loss to Raul Garcia back in 2011. As for Rosales he has won his last 2 bouts but shouldn't be much of a challenge for the talented Asenjo.
Another interesting fighter on the under-card is the unbeaten and heavy handed Lightweight prospect Roskie Cristobal (8-0, 7) who will be fighting against the much smaller Rolly Llino (5-12-1, 2). Cristobal is a very heavy handed fighter with real promise and sadly he's being matched in bouts that aren't helping him at all, such as this one against a man who is several divisions smaller. A real waste of time for such a promising prospect.
From what we understand there rest of the undercard is very stacked with fighters like Lorenzo Villanueva (26-1-0-1, 23) and Rolando Magbanua (23-2, 15) both being in action as Sonshine Sports show how interested they are in the sport.
(Image, and video below, courtesy of Sonshine Sports)