To end 2018 we turn to Macau for a monstrous show featuring 3 world title fights, as well as bouts featuring prospects from Hong Kong and Macau.
The main event of the card is one of the best match ups we could imagine, as Japan's Kazuto Ioka (23-1, 13) and Filipino Donnie Nietes (41-1-5, 23) battle for the vacant WBO Super Flyweight title. The winner of this bout will become a 4 weight champion, with Ioka battling to become the first Japanese man to win 4 divisional world titles and Nietes looking to become the third Filipino, and both men attempting to become just the third man to win titles in the 4 lowest divisions in the sport. Both are gifted boxers, with Ioka being the more aggressive and Nietes being the more patient, and both know that a win here could end up defining their careers. To end the year with such a massive bout really is something special. Our excellent preview of this fantastic fight can be read here Neites Vs Ioka - The pursuit of destiny!
A Flyweight title fight will see IBF champion Moruti Mthalane (36-2, 24), from South Africa, make his first defense, as he takes on once beaten Japanese fighter Masahiro Sakamoto (13-1, 9). The South African champion won the title in July, when he defeated Muhammad Waseem with a close decision, and became a 2-time champion. At the age of 36 we do wonder what Mthalane has left, but against Waseem he did, for the most part, look great and should be favoured. Sakamoto is an unknown outside of Japan, and even then he's only really known in Osaka, but will know this is a huge chance to make his mark on the sport and become a notable name. It's a huge ask for Sakamoto, but he has nothing to lose. Our preview of this bout can be read here Sakamoto looks to shock the Flyweight division, faces Mthalane!
Another bout pitting South Africa against Japan will see Japanese fighter Hiroto Kyoguchi (11-0, 8) challenge WBA Light Flyweight champion Hekkie Budler (32-3, 10). This will be Budler's first defense of the title, which he won from Kyoguchi's stablemate Ryoichi Taguchi, and it's an incredibly tough first defense. Although a tough bout Budler is a genuinely world-class fighter, one of the sport's most underrated fighters in fact, and certainly has the experience and skills to be trouble for anyone in the division. Kyoguchi, a former IBF Minimumweight champion, will be looking to become a 2-weight champion and is one of the most exciting little men in the sport, however this is a really tough test so soon after moving up. This is a hard bout to call and a really special contest, much like the Ioka Vs Nietes one. We've previewed this bout here Kyoguchi challenges Budler in Macau!
One of the prospects on this card is Light Flyweight Raymond Poon KaiChing (6-1, 3), who is from Hong Kong and is regarded as the country's most promising professional following Rex Tso's announcement that he was going back to the amateur ranks. Another is Macau's exciting Lap Cheong Cheong (4-0, 3). Both of these fighters will be up against novices.
The Superfly series of shows has it's third chapter this coming Saturday, and despite not having the likes of Roman Gonzalez or Srisaket Sor Rungvisai on the card the show promises a lot with several notable bouts. For us two of those stand out due to the fact they feature Asian boxers in very meaningful contests.
The most significant of those, in theory at least, will see Filipino's collide in the second all-Filipino world title fight of 2018. The bout will see veteran Donnie Nietes (41-1-4, 23) attempt to become a 4-weight champion as he takes on heavy handed countryman Aston Palicte (24-2, 20) for the vacant WBO Super Flyweight title, the belt that Naoya Inoue vacated earlier this year. Nietes, who has won titles at Minimumweight, Light Flyweight and Flyweight, has been one of the most over-looked Filipino fighters in recent years though impressed a wider audience when he defeated Juan Carlos Reveco earlier this year. Although less established Palicte is a dangerous fighter who, at 27, is reaching his physical prime, is going to have serious size and strength advantages over Nietes and is a very imposing Super Flyweight. Palicte can be out boxed but has the power and size to trouble almost any Super Flyweight and his only loss in the last 5 years was a very controversial one, that many felt he had deserved the win in. With his hunger and youth Palicte is going to be a very dangerous foe for Nietes.
Whilst the Nietes Vs Palicte is the bigger bout there may well be more intrigue in the other bout to feature an Asian fighter. That's because 3-weight champion Kazuto Ioka (22-1, 13) will be ending his retirement and making his US debut in a contender against McWilliams Arroyo (17-3, 14), for the WBC Silver Super Flyweight title. The talented Ioka hasn't fought in over a year, in part due to a falling out with his father and former promoter, and will be looking to immediately jump into the Super Flyweight mix here by taking on a fighter who has given problems to the likes of Roman Gonzalez and Amnat Ruenroeng. If Ioka has filled out his frame and is strong at 115lbs he'll be a fantastic new addition to the division, however at times he did look under-sized at Flyweight. For Arroyo this is a chance to build on his February upset win over Carlos Cuadras, and could move him to within touching distance of a WBC title shot. This is a genuinely intriguing match up and one we're very excited about.
One other bout of note on this card will see American based Filipino Bruno Escalante (17-3-1, 7) take on unbeaten Romanian Alexandru Marin (16-0, 11). We're expecting this to be a hotly contested 10 round bout, and the winner may not find themselves immediately in the mix but will only be a few bouts from a potential title fight.
The most notable card card this weekend really is a big one, despite it's focus being on the lower weights. The card in question is the highly anticipated, little men super show “Superfly 2”.
The main event of the card is one of the most mouth watering bouts the little men can throw at us, with WBC Super Flyweight champion Srisaket Sor Rungvisai (44-4-1, 40) defending his title against mandatory challenger Juan Francisco Estrada (36-2, 25). The champion announced himself to the Western boxing fan base last year, when he twice beat Roman Gonzalez to claim and defend the WBC title. Estrada has been known about by the hard core fans for a long time, and will be looking to become a 2-weight champion, following a reign as a unified WBA and WBO Flyweight champion. The bout will likely be a case of Srisaket's power, size and strength against Estrada's brain, movement and technique and we're in for an absolute treat.
Another interesting match up pits two veterans against each other in what should be a cerebral match up. The bout will see IBF Flyweight champion Donnie Nietes (40-1-4, 22) take on mandatory challenger Juan Carlos Reveco (39-3, 19), himself a former multi-weight world champion. Nietes has won titles at Minimumweight, Light Flyweight and Flyweight, with this being his first defense of the Flyweight title. The champion is one the sports smartest fighters, and with over a decade at the top he is one of the all time great Filipino's. Reveco was an outstanding fighter in his prime, with wins against the likes of Nethra Sasiprapa, Karim Guerfi, Masayuki Kuroda, Ricardo Nunez, Felix Alvarado and Yodmongkol Vor Saengthep. Despite those good wins Reveco has lost 2 of his last 6, and looked like a shot fighter in the most recent of those losses, a stoppage loss to Kazuto Ioka more than 2 years ago.
A third world title bout on this show will see Filipino-American Brian Viloria (38-5-0-2, 23) face off with unbeaten Ukrainian Artem Dalakian (15-0, 11) for the vacant WBA Flyweight title, which was vacated last year by Kazuto Ioka. For the 37 year old Viloria this is likely to be one final chance to climb back up to the top, after having had 3 previous world title reigns, however this will not be a gimme and Dalakian is a very credible foe. The Ukrainian, originally from Azerbaijan, Dalakian mae his debut in 2011 and althouigh he's he's only got one win of real note, an 8th round TKO win over stubborn veteran Silvio Olteanu, he is a very legitimate fighter and will not be a push over.
Out side of the big US show there's also a notable card in Osaka, as the Ioka gym put on a card with several notable fighters involved, including a current OPBF title defense.
That OPBF title fight will see Lightweight champion Masayoshi Nakatani (15-0, 9) defending his title, for the 9th time, against Thai puncher Pharanpetch Tor Buamas (22-2, 18). The unbeaten champion is a real talent, but a frustrating fighter who has looked ready to step up for several years and already holds wins of note against fighters like Shuhei Tsuchiya, Yositaka Kato, Ricky Sismundo and Kaewfah Tor Buamas. tall, lanky and skilled Natani has the potential to claim a world title, but does need to start facing better opponents than he has been. On the other hand the Thai is a dangerous fighter and can't be over-looked. Pharanpetch is riding a 4 fight winning run since a loss to Brandon Ogilvie and although he is no world beater he does have the power to give a fighter like Nakatani a genuine chin check. If Nakatani uses his skills he should come out of this without too many problems, but if he switches he could be in some trouble.
The chief support bout for this show will see former world title challenger Sho Ishida (24-1, 13) return to the ring for the first time since he was beat by WBA Super Flyweight champion Kal Yafai. The talented Osakan will be up against the heavy handed Lucky Tor Buamas (12-1, 12), with the Thai looking to scored a 6th straight win. Ishida failed to make the most of shit chance against Yafai, though seems like to improve following that loss and will almost certainly come again. Despite the potential of the Japanese fighter he will have to be careful here against the heavy handed visitor. Lucky was stopped in his only bout of note, losing in 9 rounds to Rene Dacquel, but is a dangerman and will clearly be looking to prove his power against Ishida here.
Another notable member of the Ioka gym in action will be Masayoshi Hashizume (14-0-1, 10). The unbeaten Hashizume, who was the 2014 Super Flyweight Rookie of the Year, suffered a draw last time out, as he had to pick himself off the canvas to score a draw against Kota Fujimoto. He'll be hoping to have an easier out here as he takes on the limited, but experienced, Takahiro Murai (15-7-2, 5). Hashizume is a genuine talent but there are questions to be asked about his toughness and what he's like when he's in there with decent competition, and Murai is certainly a credible foe given that he beat Fujimoto last year. Hashizume should be favoured, but this is a genuine test for the youngster.
Another supporting bout on this card will see Futa Akizuki (10-1, 8) take on Takuya Fujioka (7-8-1, 1). The talented Akizuki will be looking to bounce back from his November loss to Kenji Kihisa, and despite that loss the 19 year old does have a lot of upside. The bout will be a test to see how Akizuki is mentally after a stoppage loss but shouldn't be much more of a confidence booster. Fujioka lacks power and really shouldn't be any sort of a test for the talented teen.
We also get title action in Australia, with OPBF Super Flyweight champion Rene Dacquel (20-6-1, 6) taking on the unbeaten Andrew Moloney (15-0, 10). The bout will serve not only as an OPBF title defense from Dacquel but also as a defense of the WBA Oceania title by Moloney, meaning both fighters are risking something. Dacquel is on a nice run of recent results, following his 2015 loss to Takuma Inoue, and has scored decent wins over Go Onaga, Shota Kawaguchi and Hayato Kimura in his last 3 bouts, all on the road. Moloney is in good form himself but in many ways it's him stepping up in class here and this is his toughest match on paper. The Australian has been very impressive so far, but this is likely to be a real test for the 27 year old.
New South Wales, Australia
Also in Australia fans will be able to see the debuting Daniel Keating (0-0) take on Thai “loser” Aphichat Koedchatturat (2-20-2). The Thai is win-less in 13, with 11 losses and 2 draws during that run, and although better than his record suggests it's hard to imagine he'll really try to upset the debutant.
The biggest Asian show this coming Saturday takes place in Cebu where ALA host their latest “Pinoy Pride” card.
The main event of the card will see former 2-weight champion Donnie Nietes (39-1-4, 22) take on Thai visitor Eaktwan BTU Ruaviking (22-3, 15) in a bout for the vacant IBF Flyweight title, that was vacated by Johnriel Casimero. On paper it's hard to go against the Filipino veteran, who hasn't lost since a very controversial defeat back in 2004, but at 34 years old and fighting in his first title fight at Flyweight this could be a really good test to see what Nietes has left in the tank. As for Eaktawan this could be a huge chance to score a break out win and announce himself on the world stage.
In the lead support bout fans will see the touted Mark Magsayo (15-0, 11) take on Tanzania's Issa Nampepeche (24-7-4, 11). The unbeaten Magsayo is slowly working his way towards a world title fight and although this won't put him in the mix it does seem him go in there with a live opponent and he will have to make sure that he doesn't over-look the “Peche Boy”.
Another notable prospect in a supporting role is Jeo Santisima (12-2, 11), who puts a 10 fight T/KO run on the line against Indonesian visitor Master Suro (11-8-1, 2). The heavy handed Santisima looks like he could be one of the next big stars of the Philippines and at just 20 years old there is real excitement in regards to his future. Suro isn't anything great but he has proben to be tough through his career so far, with his only stoppage loss so far coming to recent OPBF title challenger Kaewfah Tor Buamas.
Metro Manila, Philippines
Staying with the Philippines there will also be a small show in Metro Manila.
The main event of thise card will see Danny Tampipi (7-6-2, 4) battle against experienced domestic foe Albert Alcoy (14-23-8, 4) in a bout for the "interim" Philippines Boxing Federation (PBF) Bantamweight title. It's not a great bout but it should be a competitive one, and could well be a fun one with both men fighting to claim some silverware.
In Osaka fight fans will be able to get a little bit more world title action.
That world title bout will see WBC female Flyweight champion Nana Yoshikawa (7-1, 4) battle against Mexican challenger Monserrat Alarcon (8-3-2). The bout will be Yoshikawa's first defense of her title and on paper looks a really good one, though truthfully we're not too sure what Alarcon really brings to the table here and she could be a very tough foe for the 38 year old champion.
Also on this card will be a bout feature the promising Shingo Kawamura (13-3-1, 6), who takes on a Thai visitor, and an interesting looking bout will see Yu Konomura (7-4-2, 1) battle against Yuki Iriguchi (7-1-1, 4).
Another Japanese show will take place in Ishikawa, where we get a pretty interesting looking card.
The main event will see the unbeaten Genesis Servania (28-0, 11) battle against Ralph Jhon Lulu (12-1-2, 5) in a bout for the WBO Asia Pacific Featherweight title. The once touted Servania has seemingly wasted the last few years, but a win here will help put him back into the title mix with the WBO. For Lulu a win would be a potential career changer and put him in the mix for some notable fights later in the year.
In the co-feature Hurricane Futa (22-6-1, 13) will be battling against Ernie Sanchez (16-9-1, 7) in what should be a really fun to watch battle. Both guys are better than their records suggest, with both being tough, heavy handed and exciting fighters.
The most notable bout to feature an Asian fighter this weekend sees former-2 weight world champion Donnie Nietes (38-1-4, 22) make his long anticipated move up to Flyweight where he will kick off his campaign with a fighter against Mexican veteran Edgar Sosa (52-9, 30). The bout isn't a major test, given Viloria's recent performances at world level, but is is a solid introduction to the weight for Nietes, who will be looking to become a 3-weight champion in the near future.
In a supporting bout on the same card former world title challenger Arthur Villanueva (29-1, 15) will face Juan Jimenez (22-10, 15) in a rematch. These two men fought earlier this year with Villanueva controversially winning the bout, and the WBO Asia Pacific Bantamweight title, with a head-butt KO. Coming into this one Jimenez will be seeking revenge whilst Villanueva will be looking to win this one cleanly.
A third notable Filipino in action in the US is the touted prospect Mark Magsayo (14-0, 11), who risks his unbeaten record against Ruben Garcia (17-2-1, 7). The talented Magsayo won the WBO International Featherweight title last time out, beating Chris Avalos in a slugfest, and will be hoping to defend the belt here against Garcia. If he comes out on top then ALA might see fit to step up Magsayo and move him towards a title fight in the next 12 months or so.
The day is a busy on in Japan with 4 shows across the country. The most notable of which is a Dangan card in Tokyo.
The main event of the card will see Japanese Lightweight champion Nihito Arakawa (27-6-1, 16) face off against Yusuke Tsukada (8-5, 3) in what will be Arakawa's first defense of the title. The teak tough champion won the belt earlier this year, ending the reign of Kota Tokunaga, and looks like he's making a simple first defense before potentially facing Shuhei Tsuchiya.
It's worth noting that Shuhei Tsuchiya (20-4, 17) will be in one of the main supporting bout on this card as he takes on Filipino visitor Rex Olisa (11-29-1, 8). The bout is expected to be a mismatch with the bout serving almost entirely to help build for a bout between Tsuchiya and Arakawa in 2017.
Another Japanese title bout will be held in Aichi as Shota Hayashi (27-5-1, 17) trades blows with veteran Noriyuki Ueno (18-13-5, 5) in a bout for the vacant Japanese Featherweight title, which was recently vacated by Satoshi Hosono. Coming in Hayashi will clearly be the favourite however Ueno is under-rated, knows this will almost certainly be his only chance and comes in riding a huge high after a massive upset win against Yuki Ogata last time out.
In the chief support bout Yushi Tanaka (17-1-3,11) will be facing a poor Thai opponent in what will be Tanaka's second bout since losing in a Japanese title bout against Kentaro Masuda this past March. It's hard to see Tanaka losing here but he'll be forced to step up his competition in the near future if he wants another crack at silverware.
Fans in Ibaragi get a less interesting card though one headlined by the insanely tough Tatsuya Takahashi (24-6-4, 17), who faces Thai visitor Parkin Phakdeepin (1-7) in a 10 rounder. The bout, for all intents, is a mismatch but we find it impossible not to love Takahashi who has been in numerous thrillers. Although a mismatch Takahashi should make this fun.
Another low profile card comes from Oita where the main event will see Yuta Sasaki (8-8-1, 1) face off against Hyuma Fujioka (7-4-1). The bout is another less than great match up, however this one should at least be competitive with both men looking to prove they are the better fight.
Camarines Sur, Philippines
The Filipino fans also get some action, the most notable of which features the very talented and under-rated Michael Dasmarinas (24-2, 16) facing off with Michael Escobia (11-12-1, 3). On paper this looks like a real mismatch however Escobia is much better than his record suggests and he has given fighters like Masaaki Serie and Koki Eto really competitive bouts, with the Eto bout coming earlier this year. Dasmarinas should win but this is no gimme.
A second Filipino show is set to take place in Rizal where we get several bouts of note.
The main event of the card will see Glenn Suminguit (18-2, 9) face off against Alvin Bais (15-6-1, 4) in a bout for the vacant GAB Bantamweight title. The bout isn't the greatest one but should be a very competitive one and both men will be coming in to this one seeking a title victory. On paper it's easy to favour Suminguit, who has won his last 8, but he will be tested here in what should a relatively competitive bout.
On this card in supporting bouts are the Elorde brothers. Juan Martin Elorde (20-1-1, 8) will face off against Indonesian veteran Boido Simanjuntak (23-40-2, 9) whilst Juan Miguel Elorde (21-1, 11) will face Junior Bajawa (14-9, 7). It's hard to see either of the brothers losing here, though we do hope they will both step up a level in the near future, as neither should be tested by their inferior foes here.
Staying in Asia there is also action in Kazakhstan where we get several bouts of note.
The most interesting bout will see unbeaten puncher Issa Akberbayev (17-0-0-1, 12) face off against fellow puncher Maik Kurzweil (17-6, 17) in a bout we don't imagine will go the distance. Although neither is near “world class” they are fighting for the GBC title and will put it on the line to hold the belt.
In an under-card bout the once beaten Russian Medzhid Bektemirov (17-1, 12) will face the highly experienced Gary Abajyan (33-27-1, 17). This will be Bektemirov's second bout since suffering a split decision loss last year to Alexander Brand. It's hard to see Abajyan holding his own here, but Bektermirov is usually fun to watch.
In another under-card bout the unbeaten Berikbay Nurymbetov (2-0) will be facing the much more experienced Valentyn Kuts (22-5-0-1, 8). Kuts has failed to win any of his last 5 bouts and we suspect that losing run will continue here against a man who is obviously backed by a very confident team.
Quintana Roo, Mexico
In Mexico we'll see the much unfancied Hirotsugu Yamamoto (19-12-2, 3) battle against former world champion Jhonny Gonzalez (61-10, 51) for the WBC International Super Featherweight title. It's hard not to favour the much more experienced Gonzalez here in what looks like a mismatch against the visitor.
Back in California, though not on the same show as the three Filipino's, fight fans will be able to see American based Kazakh Madiyar Ashkeyev (5-0, 3) face off with fellow unbeaten Martez Jackson (3-0-2, 2). The bout looks relatively even on paper but we suspect the Kazakh will be too good and too powerful for the unbeaten American.
Hard hitting Kazakh hopeful Batyrzhan Jukembayev (4-0-0-2, 4) will be looking to continue his reign of terror as he battles Leandro Mendes Pinto (19-9-2, 9) in a notable step up. The Kazakh destroyer has looked promising so far and should look good here, but notably Pinto has been around the clock and could teach the youngster a few new tricks. Although Pinto has avoided regular stoppages it's hard to imagine him being big enough or tough enough to last long with Jukembayev
Negros Occidental, Philippines
The key show for fans of Asian fighters is in Negros Occidental where ALA will be putting on their next “Pinoy Pride” card.
In the main event fans will see long reigning Filipino world champion Donnie Nietes (37-1-4, 21) face off against former 2-time champion Raul Garcia (38-3-1, 23). Nietes, the current WBO Light Flyweight champion, defeated Garcia's twin brother, Ramon Garcia Hirales, back in 2011 and will be hoping to record a win over Raul too. For Raul it's a chance to become a 3-time champion and avenge one of his brother's losses.
The most interesting of the supporting bouts sees former world title challenger Arthur Villanueva (28-1, 14) face off against the chinny Juan Jimenez (22-9, 15) in a bout for the WBO Asia Pacific Bantamweight. Despite being for an Asia Pacific title Jimenez is a Mexican so we're not sure how he qualifies for this title, however with 8 stoppage losses to his name it's hard to see him winning here.
In one of the other main supporting bouts former world title challenger Milan Melindo (33-2, 12) will be facing Maximino Flores (19-2, 13), who appears to have been a late fill in for Javier Mendoza. This bout will be an IBF Light Flyweight eliminator and the winner could find themselves taking a big step towards a world title fight later in the year.
In another supporting bout the promising Kevin Jake Cataraja (3-0, 2) will be up against Thai visitor Wanchai Nianghansa (5-7, 4). We have been impressed by Cataraja so far and expect this will be another straight forward win for the Filipino sensation, who is widely regarded by those in Filipino boxing circles as a future champion.
In Japan fans get a small card but one with an interesting main event and a notable return to the ring for a recent Japanese title challenger.
The interesting main event sees former world champion Kosei Tanaka (6-0, 3) move up to Light Flyweight where he will face world ranked Filipino foe Rene Patilano (15-1-2, 7) in a very good looking 10 rounder. For Tanaka the bout is a chance to make a mark at a new weight class, and shake the shackles of the 105lb weight class that he claimed to be struggling massively with. As for Patilano the bout will serve as a huge chance to make a mark on the sport and boost his opportunity to get a world title fight of his own later in the year.
The aforementioned former Japanese title challenger is Yushi Tanaka (16-1-3, 10), who faces Yuta Sasaki (8-7-1, 1), in what is Tanaka's first bout since losing in that Japanese title bout to Kentaro Masuda. This should be an easy win for Tanaka but their may be lingering effects from his stoppage loss to Masuda.
Two other men looking to bounce back from a loss on this card will be Shogo Yamaguchi (9-1-1, 4), and Genki Maeda (2-1, 1), who face each other in an interesting looking Lightweight bout. Yamaguchi was beaten last time out by Akihiro Kondo, in a bout that saw Yamaguchi look like a promising fighter despite losing, whilst Maeda was stopped by Yoshimichi Matsumoto in a less impressive performance. This could be a very good one, or it could see Maeda made to look like a novice.
Their will also be action in Uzbekistan
In the main event hard hitting Russian Heavyweight hopeful Apti Davtaev (11-0-1, 11) will be facing Kazakh journeyman Talgat Dosanov (13-14-1, 6) in what looks like a total mismatch in favour of the heavy handed Russian hopeful.
A much more interesting bout will see Uzbek fighter Bahrom Payozov (23-5, 15) face Russian novice Alexander Kotov (3-0, 1). Kotov debuted in December and this is a huge step up in class for him, however a win here is somewhat expected. For Payozov, who has lost 3 of his last 5, the bout is a bit of a must win.
New South Wales, Australia
Once again we see Asian fighters travelling to Australia, this time however we have one genuinely competitive bout as Romnakit Boontree (8-0, 5) facing off against the once beaten Richard Smith (8-1, 3). The unbeaten Thai has shown genuine promise through his first 8 bouts and whilst this is a step up he does look like the sort of fighter who could go a long way, if he can win here in his first bout outside of Thailand.
Other Asian's on this card are Indonesian fighters Abbas Makki (1-4), who faces Michael Upton (4-1-1) and Maxi Nahak (6-11-2, 2), who faces Rocky Jerkic (14-0, 11), in bouts that are both likely to be won by the local favourites.
This coming Saturday is certainly a busy day in Asian boxing.
New York, USA
The main action of the day comes from the US with a card in New York getting particular interest thanks to two bouts, each of which promises to be exciting and will highlight a man who some regard as the top fighter on the planet.
For many the stand out bout is the Middleweight unification bout between WBA “super”/IBO/WBC “interim” champion Gennady Golovkin (33-0, 30) and IBF title holder David Lemieux (34-2, 31). This bout promises to be an incredibly exciting one with fans sat on the edge of their seats due to the power of the two fighters, though everything suggests that it will be Golovkin's tougher resolve and more varied skill set that gets him the win.
The other bout of note will see Filipino-American Brian Viloria (36-4-0-2, 22) take on unbeaten WBC Flyweight king Roman Gonzalez (43-0, 37) in what looks to be an equally interesting match up. We know that many, including ourselves, regard Gonzalez as the best fighter on the planet, pound-for-pound, though this should serve as a test of that tag and a real proof of his credentials as well as continuing to break him out to the American market, who have sadly only began to cotton on to the excitement of the lower weights.
In California we'll see Filipino promotional outfit ALA put on their first show in the US with the next of their “Pinoy Pride” cards.
In the main event we'll see long reigning world champion Donnie Nietes (36-1-4, 21) defendign his WBO Light Flyweight belt against unknown Mexican challenger Juan Alejo (21-3, 13), who we struggled to find any footage of. On paper this looks like an easy win for the champion, who is certainly a known quantity, however Alejo will be full of confidence and is riding an excellent 21 fight winning streak, albeit against some questionable opposition.
Whilst Nietes is the elder statesman of the card the show will also feature a couple of fighters from the new wave of Filipino boxing. One of those is the brilliant Mark Magsayo (11-0, 9) who puts his unbeaten record on the line against Yardley Suarez (13-0, 8), a relatively unknown Mexican foe.
The other member of the new wave of Filipino boxing in action here is Albert Pagara (24-0, 17) who will be putting his unbeaten record and work rankings on the line against Nicaraguan William Gonzalez (27-5, 23). Pagara,if he wins as expected, will likely be looking towards a world title fight in 2016, and in fairness to him there's a good chance he could claim a major title in the next 12 months.
A fourth bout of note here will see the older of the Pagara brothers in action as Jason Pagara (36-2, 22), who will be up against Nicaragua's Santos Benavides (25-7-2, 19) in what looks like a genuine matched bout that could well steal the show, despite being the least interesting bout in terms of the future. This really could be a low level war, though for Pagara it's a must win with the Filipino being very highly ranked by the WBO in the Light Welterweight division.
There is a small show in Ishikawa.
The main event here will see Filipino born Japanese based fighter Mark Gil Melligen (21-5-1, 12) battle against Japan's very own Yudai Tamagawa (7-6-1, 2) in what should be an easy win for Melligen, who lost last time out to Vinvin Rufino in an OPBF title bout.
An interestingly matched support bout will see Yukiya Hanabusa (8-2-2, 2) take on Yudai Arai (6-3-3, 3). This bout isn't an amazing one but should be a very good 8 round contest between two well matched fighters.
A bout that caught our eye will see Venezuelan novice Omrri Bolivar (2-0, 1) take on Chinese fighter Xinghua Wang (11-12-1). Bolivar was last seen in China, beating Khunkhiri Wor Wisaruth and now fighting in Japan it seems he could be one of the more interesting imports to the the east, where hopefully he will begin to base himself in the coming months.
Whilst the remaining 4 bouts on this card are less than exciting they do feature some international fighters with a Thai and a Korea both on the under-card.
A card in Gifu is scheduled or 6 bouts though, unfortunately, only features one really interesting bout.
That interesting match up will see the touted Genki Hanai (4-0, 3) face off against Junya Nishikawa (7-6-2, 2). This bout is supposed to be a Japanese title prelude for Hanai who is expected to fight for either a Japanese or OPBF title early next year.
Baja California, Mexico
In Mexico we'll see Filipino tough guy Vergel Nebran (14-9-1, 9) take on the very exciting Jessie Magdaleno (21-0, 15), in what is a huge ask for Nebran. This is unlikely to end well for the 25 year old Filipino though he may be able to ask some questions of the unbeaten Magdaleno, who has looked like a champion in the making so far.
Where we have had some interesting days already this month we see things go on to a totally new gear on July 11th with the Philippines really dominating a very, very active day.
The best of the shows comes from Cebu where ALA will be running the next in the “Pinoy Pride” cards. Not only is the card a “big name” one but it features a little bit of everything from a recognised champion in a really exciting match up to action involving touted prospects and a major debut for a man tipped as a future Filipino star.
The main event is the world title bout which sees long term WBO Light Flyweight kingpin Donnie Nietes (35-1-4, 21) defends his belt against former unified Minimumweight champion Francisco Rodriguez Jr (17-2-1, 11). This is a genuinely mouth watering match up between arguably the best, and most proven, fighter in the division and one of the most promising and battle hardened young fighters on the planet. Credit to both men for getting this one sorted.
In the co-feature we'll see the much touted Mark Magsayo (10-0, 8) attempt to claim his first title. The talented Filipino will be up against Mexico's Rafael Reyes (16-4, 12) in a bout for the IBF Youth Featherweight title. Magsayo has, generally, impressed but this is a much more significant bout than his previous 10 and we expect to learn something new of the 20 year old here.
Whilst Magsayo is the most touted prospect on the card there is a lot of attention being given to Kevin Jake Cataraja (0-0) who makes his professional debut against Ardi Tefa (6-4, 4). From what we've been told the 20 year old Cataraja is expected to progress quickly through the ranks and could find himself in the same position as Magsayo within the the next year or two.
One other prospect on this card worthy of a mention is the heavy handed Vic Saludar (9-1, 7) who has failed to live up to expectation so far. The once touted Saludar will be up against Michael Kaibigan (3-2-2, 2).
Metro Manila, Philippines
In Metro Manila we have a number of intriguing matches with more Filipino's including a match up that may go down as the best domestic Filipino bout of the year, the card will also feature a pair of former world title challengers and a GAB title fight.
The match up we most like is a 10 round bout for the WBC Youth Super Flyweight title between the unbeaten Jhaleel Payao (11-0, 6) and Michael Dasmarinas (20-2, 13). We've been impressed in the past by Dasmarinas who looked fantastic beating Hayato Kimura last year ans was very unlucky against Lwandile Sityatha. As for Payao he's impressed in sessions working with Ryosuke Iwasa and the reports are that he's a very promising young prospect. We really cannot say enough good words about this one.
Another WBC strap will be on the line as former world title challenger Richard Claveras (12-1-2, 12) looks to defend his WBC Asian Boxing Council title against Benezer Alolod (16-7-5, 5). This will be Claveras's first bout since his loss, in a WBC world title fight, to Pedro Geuvara back in April and this is a tough return to action, despite Alolod not holding the most impressive of records.
A third title bout is for the GAB Super Flyweight title as Rene Dacquel (14-4-1, 5) defends his title against Jonas Sultan (8-2, 5). On paper it's hard to side with Sultan but he has looked good recently with 4 straight wins, 3 by T/KO, and was unlucky in his most recent loss. Whilst it's not the best match up on the card it certainly isn't a bad one.
A final title but here will see Rey Juntilla (20-6-4, 13) trading blows with Danilo Pena (26-21-4, 11) for the vacant LuzProBA Featherweight title. We've got to admit we can't see a win for Pena who is now little more than a domestic journeyman, and is 3 years removed from his last win. Juntilla may go on to achieve something more notable, given he is just 25, but we can't see him progressing to the levels that he'd like to get to.
One final bout of note here will see former world title challenger Ardin Diale (28-9-3, 14) take on Indonesian veteran Heri Amol (35-23-4, 14). From what we understand Diale is awaiting to get a shot at the OPBF Flyweight title and will know that a win here really will put him within touching distance of a shot later in the year. It does need saying Amol has lost his last 9, including a defeat to the then debuting Ken Shiro, but is still a decent enough journeyman to get Diale some good rounds.
Cotabato del Sur, Philippines
Another Filipino show really looks very exciting with some fantastic match ups on a more domestic level.
The most promising fighter on the card is the unbeaten John Vincent Moralde (12-0, 6), who will be fighting for the first time since his tragic bout with Brayd Smith. The unbeaten Moralde has been matched easily here against William George (10-22, 3) in what should be an easy win, but that allows Moralde's handlers to know where he's at in terms of his mental state.
Another very touted young fighter on this card is 20 year old Jade Bornea (3-0, 2), who holds a notable amateur victory over Kosei Tanaka. Bornea will be facing his stiffest test to date as he goes up against fellow unbeaten Salatiel Amit (6-0-2, 4) in what looks to be a very well matched bout. Jade's brother Jake Bornea (9-1, 4) is also in a very good looking bout as he takes on Richard Rosales (9-2-2, 4) in a bout for the WBC Asia Pacific Youth Flyweight title. Jake is highly tipped, like his brother, though it's hard to overlook his 2014 loss to Raymond Tabugon.
One other prospect worthy of note from this card is Jelbirt Gomera (8-0, 5) takes on the highly experienced, though limited Prell Tupaz (8-27-5, 1) in a bout for the PBF Super Bantamweight title. Gomera hasn't received the plaudits of many others but has slowly carved out a promising record and a title win here will almost certainly move him onto bigger fights.
Whilst this card doe feature a lot of prospects one bout stands out as being a truly mouth watering clash. That bout pits former world title challenger Vergilio Silvano (20-4-1, 12) takes on the talented Jetro Pabustan (25-2-6, 7). On paper this is a brilliant fight with the winner almost certainly being moved towards a bigger and better fight whilst the loser will hover around the top of the domestic scene.
It's not in the Philippines that we have a world title as fight fans in Germany get the chance to see WBA Heavyweight champion Ruslan Chagaev (33-2-1, 20) defending his title against German based Italian born fighter Francesco Pianeta (31-1-1, 17). On paper this looks mouth watering but in fairness Chagaev is not the fighter he once was and Pianeta was made to look like a journeyman in his last notable bout, a 6th round TKO loss to Wladimir Klitschko. Although it's a “heavyweight title fight” it's hard to see anyone even pretending that this features 2 of the divisions top fighters.
One final bout comes from Mexico as Filipino Jhon Gemino (12-3-1, 5) takes on the touted and unbeaten Andres Gutierrez (31-0-1, 22). This is a huge task for Gemino, who has clearly been brought in to lose, but we can't criticise him for taking the fight.
(Image courtesy of ALA Boxing)
This coming Saturday is one of the biggest and best of the year so far for Asian fans with a host of major fights taking place, many of which involve Filipino's
Metro Manila, Philippines
The biggest show of the day is in the Philippines where we get several very interesting looking bouts involving some very big names in Asian boxing and some really high level talent.
In the sole world title bout on this show fans will see Donnie Nietes (34-1-4, 20) defending his WBO Light Flyweight title again Mexican puncher Gilberto Parra (19-2, 17). Parra, on paper, looks like a really good challenger though in reality it's fair to say this is a tune up bout for Nietes who is set to fight Francisco Rodriguez Jr later in the year, barring a major shock here. The Nietes Vs Rodriguez bout will be sensational, this bout however is made to make Nietes look brilliant. Parra is made to order, crude, open and the sort of fighter than Nietes should really shine again.
In the co-feature fans will get the chance to see former multi-weight world champion Nonito Donaire (33-3, 21) return to the ring for his first bout since his stoppage loss last year to Nicholas Walters in a Featherweight title bout. Donaire looked to small for Featherweight and will be dropping back down to Super Bantamweight here as he battles Brazilian visitor William Prado (22-4-1, 15) in a bout for the NABF Super Bantamweight title. We suspect we'll see a bit of the Donaire of old here as he fights in the Philippines for the first time since stopping Raul Martinez in April 2009!
In one of two major support bouts fans will get the chance to see unbeaten Super Bantamweight contender Albert Pagara (22-0, 15). “Prince” Pagara will be defending his IBF Inter-Continental title against the dangerous looking Rodolfo Hernandez (26-5-1, 24). On paper this looks like a dangerous bout for Pagara though Hernandez's competition so far has been incredibly limited and and in all honesty Pagara should make light work of him, if the Filipino is half the fighter that he appears to be.
The other major support bout will see Japanese slugger Ryo Akaho (25-1-2, 17) kick off his ALA contract as he battles Prosper Ankrah (24-4, 15) in a contest for the WBO International Bantamweight title. Akaho is on the verge of a world title shot and will know that he is risking his opportunity here, however he knows that if he impresses the crowd and the promoter he may get a world title shot next time out. Ankrah is well travelled though has lost every time he has fought at this type of level and we expect that will continue here.
Lower down we'll see the popular AJ Banal (32-2-1, 22) battle against Indonesian fighter Junior Bajawa (14-5, 7). Bajawa has lost his last 4 in a row, including 3 straight stoppage losses, and that run should continue here
Another Filipino show will be held in Baguio City where several regional titles will be on the line.
In the main event fans will get the chance to see the heavy handed Tosho Makoto Aoki (19-12-2, 16) defending his WBC Asian Boxing Council Lightweight title against Indonesian journeyman Eddy Comaro (32-23-5, 13). This will be Aoki's first defence of the best that he won last May, when he stopped Jonel Alibio, and will see him trying to extend his run to 7 straight wins. Comaro on the other hand is seeking a 4th straight win.
In an all-Filipino bout fans will see the once beaten Robert Udtohan (22-1-2, 14) battle against the limited Mike Espanosa (12-9-1, 7) in a contest for the vacant WBC Asian Boxing Council Continental Super Bantamweight title. Udtohan should be the favourite though a win here would go down as one of his best wins so far.
In an interesting match up between unbeaten fighters fans will see Philippines based Indian fighter Prabhjot Singh (1-0, 1) battle against F Faturochman (2-0, 1) in a bout for the vacant WBC Asian Boxing Council Silver Welterweight title. Whilst both of these fighters are novices we can't help be be interested in this scheduled 10 round affair which will put the winner on the map in some ways, even if they are a long way from being genuinely relevant.
Another interesting match up will see Jheritz Chavez (3-0-2, 2) stepping up massively to battle Randy Megrino (15-17-3, 8) in a contest for the vacant WBC Asian Boxing Council Continental Welterweight title. Chavez has been matched hard since he made his debut but this is a huge step up in class. Megrino, who doesn't a particularly attractive record, does have an occasional notable results and he could well be too much for Chavez at this point in is career.
[Note Boxrec list this card for March 29th, other sources state it's the 28th]
In Mexico we see another Filipino involved in a title bout as former WBO Minimumweight world title challenger Rommel Asenjo (26-3, 20) takes on an extremely tough assignment against unified, WBA “Super” and WBO, Flyweight champion Juan Francisco Estrada (31-2, 22). For Asenjo this is an opportunity to make a name for himself however Estrada is a fantastic fighter who gave Roman Gonzalez one of his toughest ever bouts. Estrada didn't look great last time out, against Joebert Alvarez, but we suspect he'll shine here against the limited but heavy handed Asenjo.
New York, USA
We get lower profile stuff in the US as Kazakh prospect Dimash Niyazov (6-0-3, 4) put his unbeaten record on the line against the very limited, but tough, Micah Branch (2-13-1). Branch rarely picks up wins but has never been stopped and has been in with various unbeaten prospects such as Evgeny Chuprakov. Sadly for Branch he is the smaller man here and Niyazov, whilst not a world champion in the making, should be too big and too strong for the American fighter.
(Image courtesy of ALA Promotions)
The biggest show of the weekend this Saturday comes from the Philippines as ALA Promotions put on the 28th show in their "Pinoy Pride" series and, we've got to be honest here, it looks like a great one even if the main event is likely to feel like a let down, thankfully however there are 4 or 5 other interesting bouts on the card and several notable names.
The aforementioned main event will see WBO Light Flyweight champion Donnie Nietes (33-1-3, 9) return to the ring in an attempt to record the 5th defense of his title. We say attempt though he shouldn't really struggle as he takes on the exciting but limited Carlos Velarde (26-3-1, 14). We don't think Nietes will be given a real test here but we do suspect the fight will be fun to watch as Velarde always brings action to the ring, as he did prior to getting stopped by Ryo Miyazak in a WBA Minimumweight title bout last year.
Whilst the main event looks somewhat predictable the two main support bouts both look interesting to say the least.
One of those will see former world title challenger Milan Melindo (31-1, 12) drop down to Light Flyweight to take on Mexico's Saul Juarez (20-3, 11) in an IBF world title eliminator. The bout was put together after Juarez missed out on the world title shot that Velarde has and we suspect that Melindo will be given a good work out here even if he does make it look relatively easy. The other major support bout will see the unbeaten Albert Pagara (21-0, 15) battle against tough Mexican Raul Hirales (22-3-1, 11). This will be Pagara's first defense of the IBF Inter-Continental Super Bantamweight title and appears to be a great step up for the Filipino who has blitzed his last 3 foes in a combined 5 rounds. It's a big step up but Hirales has looked very ordinary in his 3 losses and we suspect Pagara will manage to make him look poor as well.
In the most interesting of 3 bouts scheduled for 10 rounds we will see unified Minimumweight champion Francisco Rodriguez Jr (16-2, 11) battle against Jomar Fajardo (14-5-1, 7). Rodriguez will be fighting for the first time since he unified the IBF and WBO titles with his stellar victory over Katsunari Takayama this year in a FOTY contender and we suspect that this will be his last bout before making a permanent move to the Light Flyweight division, which appears to be set for a memorable 2015.
Another of the 10 rounders will see former Rodriguez foe Merlito Sabillo (23-1-1, 12) battle against the limited Faris Nenggo (8-6-3, 2). This will be Sabillo's first bout since being stopped by Rodriguez in March whilst for Nenggo it'll be his first bout since back-to-back defeats to Ryuji Hara and Paipharob Kokietgym. It should be an easy win for Sabillo but it's hard to judge what his confidence will be like after the battering he suffered at the hands of Rodriguez.
The third 10 rounder will see former world title contender AJ Banal (31-2-1, 22) battle against recent OPBF Featherweight title challenger Maxsaisai Sithsaithong (15-5, 4). We assume this could be fun to watch but Banal, for all his talent, appears to have a knack of letting us down. We wouldn't be shocked for him to take out his Thai foe early nor would we be shocked to see him struggle to a relatively limp and unexciting decision win.
Lower down the card in an 8 rounder we will see Mark Magsayo (8-0, 6), one of out favourite Filipino prospects, battle against South Korean visitor Moon-Sun Jung (2-3-3). We imagine Magsayo will see off Jung though hopefully he'll get some rounds in the bank before closing the show.
Nakhon Nayok, Thailand
Whilst the Filipino show is clearly the most important of the day we do have shows across Asia with one of them taking place in Thailand.
This show will be headlined by a regional title bout between unbeaten fighters as Petchchorhae Kokietgym (8-0, 5) attempts to make the first defense of his WBC Asian Boxing Council silver Flyweight title. The man trying to stop the Thai is unbeaten Indonesian Rizky Pratama (2-0) who we really don't know about. Hopefully this will be competitive though we suspect the Indonesian will be blown away relatively quickly in a mismatch.
In a clear mismatch fans will get the chance to see former world title challenger Terdsak Kokietgym (53-5-1, 33) take on Indonesia's Yacob Ton (4-10, 2). This is a mismatch and few will defend it however it will be Terdsak's first bout since his thrilling encounter with Orlando Salido a few months ago and hopefully Terdsak won't damaged good following that fight which was extremely damaging for the Thai.
A third bout on this card will see Petchnamchai KKP (1-0, 1) risking his unbeaten record against the debuting Ricardo Sithsaithong (0-0) in what looks like an even match up on paper though is unlikely to be even at all given what we know about boxing in Thailand.
A small show in Japan, featuring 9 bouts in total, looks to be a forgettable one with only 2 bouts even worth mentioning.
The main event, an 8 rounder, will see Keita Nakano (11-9-3, 2) fight against Takaaki Ishikawa (10-5, 5) in what appears to be a competitive match up though a sub-domestic level one that won't get fans, even domestic ones, excited in the slightest. Although not a great bout both men do need a win and will likely put it all on the line to take home a W. The only other bout worth noting is a 6 rounder that will see Ryuto Araya (6-2-1) taking on Tsubasa Mochizuki (6-4, 2) in a bout we suspect will go the distance considering neither guy has much power on their shots.
Daegu, South Korea
In South Korea we get another domestic level card though one that features 2 relatively weak looking title fights.
At Super Middleweight we will see Eun-Chang Lee (7-4, 3) attempt to defend the Korean Super Middleweight title for the first time since winning the title in March. Lee, who lost in Macau to Esquiva Falcao last time out, will be battling against Young-Kyoon Lee (1-13-1) who really shouldn't be in any sort of a title fight given that he has won just 1 of 15 professional bouts.
Sadly the other title bout on the show, a South Korean Super Featherweight bout, is almost as bad as Ik Soo Han (6-3, 1) takes on Jong-Won Won (7-13-1, 3) for the vacant belt. Han last fought 19 months ago, losing a 6th round TKO to Junta Sekimoto in Japan whilst Won hasn't won a bout since July 2009! We understand that titles can interest fans but this is farcical for a title bout.
A third bout on this card will see former female world title challenger Hye-Soo Park (3-7-1, 1) fighting against win-less Thai Dorkmaipah Kiatpompetch (0-3) in what should be a clear mismatch, despite the fact Park isn't a great fighter herself.
Gauteng, South Africa
In South Africa we will see two Russian's in action in interesting looking bouts.
At Light Heavyweight we will get the chance to see Denis Grachev (13-4-1, 8) take on the unbeaten, and freakishly tall, Thomas Oosthuizen (22-0-2, 13). It's fair to say the loser here will have to forget any dreams of being a world champion whilst a win will likely help them move into contention for a belt. With the stakes so high this could a very good bout however both men have looked poor in recent contests and they may again fail to inspire here.
The other bout will see the heavy handed Roman Belaev (14-0, 10) fighting former world title challenger Ali Funeka (35-4-3, 29) in a bout for the IBO Welterweight title. Belaev has generally impressed us with his power, aggression and style and we suspect he'll show those same traits here against the 36 year old Funeka who we thing could be ready for his first stoppage loss.
(Image courtesy of ALA Promotions)