This coming Saturday isn't a big day for Asian fight fans, but there is plenty of action to get excited about, including a solid looking card in the Philippines, an unbeaten Kazakh Heavyweight hopeful and a couple of Uzbek fighters.
Binan City, Laguna, Philippines
The main focus for us will be the Philippines where we get two mouth watering match ups.
The most notable of the two will be a bout between Vic Saludar (20-4, 11) and Robert Paradero (18-0, 12), which is expected to be for some form of WBA title at Minimumweight. The bout will see Saludar looking to secure his second win since losing the WBO world title in 2019 to Wilfredo Mendez and could help him move towards a showdown with Knockout CP Freshmart. The heavy handed former champion is the more proven man but we need to wonder what he'll be like after more than a year away from the ring. As for Paradero he's yet to face anyone of real note, though has long been touted as a really bright prospect. Sadly, aged 24, Paradero appears to be coming in to this bout without having had the developmental fights he'd need to hold his own against someone like Saludar. Saying that however he will clearly be there to make the most of this huge opportunity. An in depth preview of this bout can be read here Sure Thing: Vic Saludar and Roberto Paradero in all-Filipino WBA ‘not-quite’ title fight
In a supporting bout the talented 21 year old Carl Jammes Martin (16-0, 14) looks to extend his unbeaten record, as he takes on the battle tested Joe Tejones (13-7, 7). The hard hitting Martin has long been regarded as a thrilling, fun to watch prospect, but one who is somewhat open and needs polishing before stepping up in class. Tejones on the other hand has been matched hard and has already shared the ring with the likes of Hinata Maruta, Tenta Kiyose and Tsuyoshi Tameda. We suspect Martin will be too good and too strong, but this is a genuine test for the youngster.
Universum Gym, Hamburg, Hamburg, Germany
Over in Germany we'll see unbeaten Kazakh Heavyweight hopeful Zhan Kossobutskiy (14-0, 13) take part in his first bout of the new year as he battles heavy handed Nigerian Onoriode Ehwarieme (18-1, 17) for the WBA International Heavyweight title. The unbeaten Kossobutskiy was a talented amateur and has shown some promise since turning professional in 2017, however at the age of 32 he is at the point where he needs to begin making a move towards bigger and better fights. He has been active, with 14 fights in less than 4 years, but he needs to begin facing name quality foes this year. Ehwarieme on the other hand hasn't faced too many fights of note but is, surprisingly, well travelled with fights in Indonesia, Ghana, Nigeria, Argentina and the USA. Sadly his most notable result is an opening round loss to Rodney Hernandez, which sums up his level pretty well.
If we're being honest we suspect Kossobutskiy ends up stopping Ehwarieme relatively early on here in what will look like a pointless mismatch, despite looking interesting on paper.
Doubletree Miamimart Hotel, Miami, Florida, USA
American based Kazakh fighter Dimash Niyazov (13-1-3, 6) ends a lengthy break from the ring as he takes on feather fisted Argentine Jonatan Hernan Godoy (5-7). The 32 year old Niyazov hasn't fought since April 2018, when he lost a decision to Angel Sarinana. Since then he has been working as a police officer in New York. Amazingly since Niyazov last fought Godoy has fought 11 times. If activity is the key here, Godoy has a chance, otherwise we suspect Niyazov's class and skills will be the difference.
Shelby Co Fairgrounds, Shelbyville, Kentucky, USA
We can't help but feel that unbeaten American based Korean fighter Jongin Choi (5-0, 3) needs a step up now, at the age of 29. Sadly however that won't be happening here, as he takes on win-less 43 year old Muhammad Adams (0-5-1). Disappointingly this looks to be little more than a record padding effort for Choi, who really needs to be facing someone coming to win. To date Choi's first 5 opponents have a combined record of 1-35-1 and this low level of competition is doing nothing to advance his career.
Vegas City Hall, Krasnogorsk, Russia
Over in Russia we'll see two Uzbek fighters in action.
The most notable of the two is unbeaten Lightweight Ulugbek Qayumboev (3-0, 3), who has taken out his first 3 opponents in a combined 7 rounds. Sadly, at the time of writing, Qayumboev hasn't had his opponent for this bout named, though given his first 3 opponents we're not expecting anyone too testing for the unbeaten 20 year old.
The other Uzbek on this show will be Muzaffar Rasulov (5-2, 3), who looks to continue a 4 fight winning run as he takes on the limited Arkadi Harutyunyan (4-14-0-1, 1). The 24 year old Rasulov lost 2 of his first 3 but has began showing some genuine promise, though he is obviously still a work in progress. Armenian born Russian Harutyunyan scored one of the biggest upsets of 2020, stopping Andrey Klimov in February, but then lost 6 in a row as he failed to build on a career best win. Notably the win over Klimov was his first since 2013! With that in mind we're not giving him much of a chance here.
New York, USA
In the US we get a number of Asian fighters in action.
One of those is the eye catching and fun to watch Shohjahon Ergashev (11-0, 11), who impressed back in January when he defeated Sonny Fredrickson. The Uzbek hopeful will be facing off with Chinese fight Zhimin Wang (10-2, 3) in what should be another chance for Ergashev to show case his skills. Wang isn't a terrible fighter, but he is naturally smaller than the Uzbek and is essentially taking a a pea shooter into a gun fight against Ergashev's brutal power.
Unbeaten Kazakh hopeful Dimash Niyazov (13-0-3, 6) will be seeking an 8th straight win as he goes up against limited Mexican Angel Sarinana (7-7-2, 3). Niyazov doesn't have the look of being the next Kazakh star but should be far too good for Sarinana, who lacks power and has already been stopped in 4 of his 7 losses.
The most interesting Asian on this card is Kazakh debutant Daniyar Yeleussinov (0-0). The Kazakh won gold at Rio 2016 and is touted to be a very special professional, given just how strong and impressive his amateur credentials are. He signed with Eddie Hearn's Matchroom Sports and is likely to matched aggressively. Sadly at the time of writing the opponent for his debut is unknown though we're not expecting any one too notable given the short notice.
In Hyogo Japanese fans get a really interesting card with two notable bouts.
The most interesting of those will see former world champion Shun Kubo (12-1, 9) take on former world title challenger Hiroshige Osawa (33-4-4, 19). The bout is being sold as a “survival match” for the two men, with neither really able to afford a loss at this point. For Kubo this bout will be his first as a fully fledged Featherweight and his first since losing the WBA Super Bantamweight title to Daniel Roman last September. For Osawa this bout will see him hunting a 4th straight win since his 2016 loss to Oscar Valdez. The winner of this will move towards another world title fight, whilst the loser could well be looking down the end of a barrel.
In a supporting bout we'll see former OPBF Bantamweight champion Takahiro Yamamoto (20-5, 17) battle against Filipino visitor Jestoni Autida (11-7, 5). The Japanese slugger will be looking for his third straight stoppage win since having the title ripped out of his hands in November 2016 by Mark John Yap. At his best Yamamoto is a pure raw heavy handed slugger who can be a nightmare to fight, though his competition since his loss to Yap has been poor. Autida on the other hand is one of the many under-rated Filipino fighters, and he has toughness and ability to give Yamamoto real fits here. Although on paper a mismatch Autide has mixed with top level company, and suffered losses to fighters like Ryo Matsumoto and Petch Sor Chitpattana, so we do not expect this to be a walk in the park for Yamamoto.
One other bout of note on this card is a bout between Retsu Kosaka (8-3, 3) and Koichi Ito (11-6-3, 10). This should be a pretty interesting contest, despite neither fighter being particularly goo. Ito really does have nasty power and if he connects Kosaka could be in trouble, however Kosaka has the edge in skills and could be simply too good for the cruder fighter.
A second Japanese show will come from Osaka, where we get a relatively low key card.
The main event is a very interesting match up as Matcha Nakagawa (12-1-1, 5) faces off with Yuki Iriguchi (9-2-1, 4) in a bout for the Japanese Youth Bantamweight title. This is one of the many interesting match ups to come from the Japanese Youth title scene. Coming into this one Nakagawa is riding a 3 fight winning run since losing unbeaten record in late 2016 to Ryohei Takahashi. Iriguchi on the other hand lost his unbeaten record last time out in a split decision loss to Takuya Mizuno. Given the quality of these two fighters this match up should be very competitive and compelling, even if it does lack in terms of excitement.
Also on this card will be Shingo Kawamura (15-3-1, 7) and Daiki Tomita (11-0, 3), who will both be fighting Thai foes. We haven't got the names of the visiting fighters, which should really sum up the quality of the opponents in this bout, and both Kawamura and Tomita will be expecting to pick up wins here.
The day is set to be an incredibly busy on in the Philippines. The most notable of the shows is to come from Glan in Saragani province.
The main event of this card will see unbeaten fighters collide in a bout for the WBO Oriental Youth Super Flyweight title. The bout will see Jade Bornea (10-0, 7) take on Danrick Sumabong (5-0, 4) in what should be a really good match up. Bornea was a top Filipino amateur before turning professional and should be favoured, but 19 year old Sumabong is a hard hitting with confidence and could prove to be the sort of opponent who could give Bornea absolute fits.
Other fighters on this card are Harmonito Dela Torre (19-1, 12), Jayson Mama (9-0, 5), Mark Bernaldez (15-1, 10) and Jake Bornea (13-2, 7). None of them are expecting to face any sort of tests, but the promoters do look like they are stacking the card with notable hopefuls and prospects.
Another Filipino card with a title bout headlining it will see the unbeaten Carl Jammes Martin (7-0, 6) take on Tanzanian Hashimu Zuberi (14-2, 4) in a bout for the WBO Asia Pacific Youth Bantamweight title. The 18 year old Martin has been really impressive on the lower level of the Filipino domestic scene but this is a notable step up and he will have to prove that he is one to watch with this bout. As for Zuberi he lacks power but the 22 year old showed his toughness in 2016, when he went 12 rounds with Rakniran Muadransarakam. He was stopped last year by Andrew Moloney, in 4 rounds, but is a fantastic test for the unbeaten Martin.
Agusan del Norte, Philippines
In Agusan del Norte fans will get the chance to see another low key card, headlined by Monico Laurente (29-13, 6) battling against Ralph Jhon Lulu (12-2-2, 5), who we believe was a late replacement for JP Macadumpis. On paper this is a decent match up, especially given that Laurente is on the slide, however Lulu has lost his last two bouts and is 20 months removed from a win, which came against the limited Junjie Lauza.
Metro Manila, Philippines
In Metro Manila fans get a title double header.
One of the bouts on this card will see the aggressive Allan Vallespin (11-2, 8) defending his GAB Super Featherweight title against the limited Warren Mambuanag (11-9-2, 3). Both of Vallespin's losses have been by stoppage, with the Filipino being stopped by both Masaru Sueyoshi and Denys Berinchyk, and he shouldn't be worried about Mambuanag's power here. The challenger has 4 of his last 5, including a loss to Vallespin in December 2016, and will be a major under-dog coming in to this bout.
A second title fight will see Mugicha Nakagawa (22-5-1, 13), the brother of the aforementioned Match Nakagawa, battle against Ricky Manufoe (27-32-3, 10) for the WBA Asia East Super Bantamweight Title. This should be a mismatch and a pretty straight forward win for Nakagawa, who impressed us last year when he came up just short against Yasutaka Ishimoto. Indonesian foe Manufoe has lost 4 of his last 5, and is likely to be beaten again here.
Title action continues in Tokyo for a second day running, with a trio of title bouts at the Korakuen Hall, including an OPBF title defense, a Japanese youth title defense and a bout for a vacant Japanese youth title, as well as a Japanese title eliminator. It's fair to say fans are in store for a packed card!
The most notable of the title bouts will see the fast rising Tsubasa Koura (11-0, 8) defending his OPBF Mnimumweight title against former amateur stand out Masataka Taniguchi (8-1, 6). The champion will be making his first defense of the title, a title that he won this past July, and he will be looking to continue his impressive stoppage run, which currently stands at 5 stoppages including wins over Jeffrey Galero and Jaysever Abcede. As for Taniguchi this will be his second title bout, having come up short in a bout against Reiya Konishi for the Japanese title.
At Lightweight we'll see Japanese Youth champion Izuki Tomioka (4-0, 1) defending his title for the first time, and facing off with with 21 year old puncher Taiju Shiratori (8-2, 5). The talented Tomioka won the title in August, defeating Yuichito Kasyua, and has had a stellar 2017 with with with wins over Joon Woo Park and Shun Shimazaki. As for Shiratori he's stopped his last 3 foes but this is a step up in class for him and going to be a test of how he can cope with a very skilled fighter.
The other Japanese Youth title fight will see the highly regarded Andy Hiraoka (10-0, 7) taking on Takahiko Kobayashi (7-2, 5) for the JBC Youth Light Welterweight title. These two both fought in the Semi-Final of the Japanese Youth tournament on August 23rd with Hiraoka blowing out Ukyo Yoshigai in 3 rounds whilst Kobayashi struggled to over-come Hayato Ono, avenging one of his two losses. Of the two it's Hiraoka who has impressed more, but at 6'0” Kobayashi will be one of the very few fighters taller than Hiraoka and could pose some questions based on size alone.
Despite there being 3 title bouts on this show the main event is technically a Japanese title eliminator at Light Middleweight as former national Welterweight champion Nobuyuki Shindo (18-4-1, 7) takes on veteran Cobra Suwa (19-12-2, 11). Shindo's reign at 147lbs was a short lived one, lasting just over 3 months, and he has fought only once since, getting off the canvas to defeat Sansouke Sasaki. The 37 year old Suwa had been a professional for more than 14 year and although he has challenged for both the OPBF and JBC titles he hasn't had a career defining win, but will know that a title fight in 2018 could given him one last chance.
One other bout of note here will see recent Japanese title challenger Ryoichi Tamura (8-3-1, 5) take on experienced Filipino Robert Udtohan (24-2-3, 15). Tamura recently challenged Yusaku Kuga, and gave Kuga all sorts of hell showing his power, aggression and energy. The Filipino is best known for his 2016 bout Qiu Xiao Jun, in which he was stopped in 3 rounds. It's hard to see Udtohan win here, but this should be a very entertaining contest.
New York, USA
There will also be some central Asian fighters in action in the US.
One of those fighters is hard hitting Uzbek Welterweight Shohjahon Ergashev (9-0, 9), who will be making his US debut and risking his perfect record against Marquis Hawthorne (5-7, 1). The Uzbek has taken out his first 9 foes in a combined 15 rounds and looks like a genuine monster, though with this being his first fight Stateside it really does look like he's being matched softly on paper. Hawthorne has shown little power during his career so far, but has only been stopped once and should be able to test Ergashev's power.
Also on the card is unbeaten American based Kazakh Dimash Niyazov (12-0-3, 5), though at the time of writing his opponent hasn't been announced.
This coming Friday we see a mini American invasion by a trio of central Asian fighters in Michigan.
One of those Asian fighters is the explosive Bakhtiyar Eyubov (12-0, 10), who looks to continue his unbeaten run as he takes on Mexican veteran Cesar Soriano Berumen (27-35-1, 16). Having started his career 10-0 (10) Eyubov has struggled in his last 2 bouts, going the distance in both, and it's clear that he and his team have realised he needs more rounds under his belt before being pushed. Berumen should provide some rounds, but won't be expected to be much of a threat for the Kazakh.
Unbeaten 28 year old Dimash Niyazov (10-0-3, 4) will risk his unbeaten record against the poor Ramon Guevara (10-24-2, 6), who has been stopped 19 times in his career. Guevara has been out oif the ring for more than 2 years and has just a single win in the last 7 years, showing his lack of quality, and this should be an easy win for Niyazov.
In a better looking contest the 30 year old Serdar Hudayberdiyev (3-0, 2) will take on Antonio Urista (7-2, 2). The Brooklyn based fighter originally Turkmenistan will be ending an 11 month break from the ring and is stepping up in a big way here, to take on someone hungry and tough. Urista has suffered losses in 2 of his last 4, but they were both to unbeaten fighters on the road, in California, and he could be a genuine banana skin for Hudayberdiyev