This coming Monday focus heads to a Kadoebi card at Korakuen Hall, where we get an OPBF title fight, a really good looking novice pro bout, and several decent supporting bouts.
The main event will see OPBF Light Middleweight champion Akinori Watanabe (38-7-1, 32) making his first defense of the title, as he take on Thai challenger Sitthidet Banti (12-5, 6), in what looks like a very, very soft first defense. Watanabe has mixed against stiff competition through his career, and last December's war with Nobuyuki Shindo was truly sensational, so for him to have an easy bout isn't too bad, but it is a weak title defense. To show how weak it is, Banti was stopped by Japanese novice Takuma Takahashi back in August. Our preview of this bout can be read here Does Watanabe get an easy first defense of OPBF crown?
Whilst the main event is a mismatch there is some really interesting action on this card, including a brilliant match up between Ran Tomomatsu (1-0) and Mikio Sakai (1-0). Despite both men being professional novices both were talented amateurs and they both looked great, albeit in very different ways, on their debut. Of the two Tomomatsu looks the more physical and stronger fighter, but the less technical, whilst Sakai has a flash and speedier look to him. This is a huge risk bout for both, and something to get very excited about.
In another interesting support bout we'll see the talented Yuichiro Kasuya (13-2-1, 4) take on 2-time Japanese title challenger Satoru Sugita (15-6-1, 10). Since moving over to the Kadoebi gym we've seen Kasuya show more some real development, and belief in his punching, and with 3 wins already this year he does now seem to have some momentum behind him. As for Sugita this is a real must win after going 4-4 in his last 8, including his two losses in Japanese title fights. As his best Sugita would favoured against the best we've seen from Kasuya, though it's unclear what Sugita still has left and how much more Kasuya can improve.
Another bout worth noting here will see talented youngster Yuki Nakajima (2-1, 2) look to bounce back from his first defeat as he takes on Yasuhiro Tanaka (6-4-2) in a good looking comeback bout. Nakajima was beaten back in August, by the excellent Ryu Horikawa and although he was beaten it wasn't a loss to be ashamed by and he's certainly not having an easy blow out here, despite Tanaka's record. Tanaka has proven to be a competitive fighter at the lower levels of the Japanese scene and went 5 rounds with the excellent Rikito Shiba last year. That will be the target for Nakajima, and if he can beat what Shiba did then we'll be impressed.
As well as the action in Japan there is also a notable card in Kazakhstan, though one that appears to have gone through a number of changes in recent days. The card is being hosted to celebrate Kazakhstan Independence day, and should be a great show if you're a Kazakh with a great array of Kazakh talent on the show.
Former world champion Hekkie Budler was originally announced for main event of this show, but it now appears that the main event will see Viktor Kotochigov (10-0, 4) take on Javier Jose Clavero (27-5, 5). On paper this looks like a good test for the unbeaten 26 old Kazakh, but in reality Clavero should be seen as a clear under-dog against an unbeaten prospect fighting in front of his home fans. This is a step up for Kotochigov, but one he will be be expected to win with out too many issues.
A solid supporting bout will see the highly touted Sultan Zaurbek (8-0, 6) take on China's Leshan Li (16-3-2, 9), in what is Zaurbek's first title bout as they face off for the WBC Youth Super Featherweight title. We've been wanting to see Zaurbek take a step up for a while and this is exactly the sort of bout that should tell us more about the talented 23 year old. Impressive Zaurbek will be fighting for the 6th time in 2019. As for Li he's unbeaten in 3, but has yet to score a win of note in his 21 bout career.
Other fighters on this card include an array of Central Asian prospects and hopefuls. They include 22 year old American based Kazakh Iskander Kharsan (7-0, 6), 2-time Olympian Khurshid Tojibaev (3-0, 2) and 2016 Olympic champion Fazliddin Gaibnazarov (7-1, 4).
Eastern Cape, South Africa
In South Africa we'll see another bout in the excellent Philippines Vs South Africa rivalry. This time around it'll be unheralded Filipino Joey Canoy (15-3-1, 8) taking on South African Nkosinathi Joyi (28-5-1-1, 19) in a bout for the IBO Minimumweight title. On paper Joyi will be the favourite, the former IBF world champion is the more proven and more experienced man, however Canoy will be confident of picking up the win, in what is his third visit to South Africa, and he'll be boosted by John Riel Casimero's recent win against Zolani Tete.
Eastern Cape, South Africa
The biggest bout for the day, at least for us, this coming Sunday will see Tajik born boxer-puncher Shavkatdzhon Rakhimov (14-0, 11) take on unbeaten South African Azinga Fuzile (14-0, 8) in an IBF world title eliminator. The Tajik, fighting outside of Russia for the first time, is seen as the under-dog but is riding a run of good wins against the likes of Emanuel Lopez, Malcolm Klassen and Robinson Castellnos. Fuzile has looked the part but this appears to be a step up for him against a dangerous and hungry fighter, who will be in the ring looking to cut the ring off and break him down. This has the potential to be an excellent, if low-key, bout between talented fighters each looking to stamp themselves on the division and secure a world title fight. Our in depth preview of this bout can be read here Tajik born Rakhimov and unbeaten South African Fuzile face off in eliminator!
In Osaka we have a small but notable Green Tsuda card featuring a female bout in the headliner and two notable supporting bouts.
The main event will see the talented Shione Ogata (11-6, 3) fighting in a non-title bout against Filipino foe Gretel De Paz (5-5-1, 2). The talented Ogata, has unified the OPBF, WBO Asia Pacific and WBA Asia female Light Flyweight titles in her last 3 bouts and is quickly approaching a world title fight. Paz is here to make up the numbers and give Ogata a tune up before a bigger bout down the line. Paz has gone 1-4-1 in her last 6, but has proven to be tough and should take Ogata the scheduled 8 rounds here.
The all action Aso Ishiwaki (6-2-1, 4) features in one of the support bouts worth talking about. Ishiwaki is no world beater, but is a very exciting, hard hitting fighter and is well worth making a mental note of, especially given he is only 20 years old. Ishiwaki's opponent is 26 year old glass cannon Takuya Matsusaka (8-8, 7), who has only heard the final bell twice in 16 fights. Through his career so far Matsusaka has seen 12 of his bouts end in the first 2 rounds, so expect this one to be very explosive very early.
The other bout of note on this card will see the touted Rei Nakajima (1-0) fight in his second pro bout. Sadly Nakajima's opponent hasn't been announced at the time of writing, suggesting a late and limited foreign import, but Nakajima himself is regarded highly in Japan and is tipped to achieve notable success in the professional ranks, Nakajima debuted back in July and looked dominant, so we would certainly suggest fans make a mental note of him here, even if his opponents isn't likely to be much of a test.
In Tashkent we're expecting an Uzbek card stacked with notable names, though at the time of writing only half of the card is actually listed.
With no opponents currently listed for the show it's unlikely the card isn't going to be full of competitive match ups, however the card does have a host of notable Uzbek prospects listed for it. These include Olympic 2016 gold medal winner Fazliddin Gaibnazarov (7-1, 4), big punching Middleweight hopeful Ulugbek Khakberdiev (6-0, 4), novice professional Sanjar Tursunov (1-0, 1) and recent World Amateur Championship winner Bakhodir Jalolov (6-0, 6).
Samut Prakan, Thailand
In Thailand there's set to be a show-case of novices, in low profile bouts from the Blue Arena in Samut Prakan.
One of the bouts will be a battle between unbeaten fighters for a national title, as Boonrueang Phayom (2-0, 2) and Tongthep Taeyawong (3-0-1, 3) battle for the vacant Thai Bantamweight title. Little is known about these two fighters, but at 20 years old Boonrueang is the older man, whilst Thongthep is just 16. Notably both of these men have fought twice in recent months, and we do have to wonder, again, what the Thai commission's actually do to try and prevent youngsters from getting injured.
Another fighter who is fighting for the second time without much of a break is Nattapong Jankaew (1-0, 1), who debuted back in September 8th. Nattpong will be up against Kittipong Jareonroy (3-3, 1) in a bout for the Interim Thai Super Flyweight title. It's hard to get too excited here, especially given that Kittipong was stopped inside a round by Ryoji Fukunaga back in May.
A third title bout will see the unbeaten Pattawee Phansawat (3-0, 3) take on the wonderfully named Mega Daophommachan (0-0), from Laos, in a bout for the Professional Boxing Association of Thailand (PAT) International Light Flyweight title.
Our attention turns to New York this coming Friday where we get the chance to see several Asian fighters in action.
New York, USA
The biggest of the bouts in New York will see little known Japanese fighter Ryohei Takahashi (15-3-1, 6) challenge IBF Super Bantamweight champion TJ Doheny (20-0, 14). This is a huge step up class for Takahashi and an opportunity that few would have expected to see Takahashi get. This is Doheny's first title defense, and he really be the major favourite as he takes on the little known challenger. Takahashi had to wait until January 11th to get his visa for the fight but had been training for a potential clash with Doheny since early December. We've previewed this bout bout here Preview: Doheny Vs Takahashi
New York, USA
A separate card in New York will feature a trio of Asian fighters in bouts.
One of those Asian fighters in action is Filipino fighter Jessie Cris Rosales (22-1-1, 10), who will take on the very highly regarded American Shakur Stevenson (9-0, 5) in a very attractive looking contest. Stevenson, a 2016 Olympic silver medal winner, is regarded as one of the brightest prospects in American boxing and looked fantastic last time out, when he blitzed Romanian veteran Viorel Simion. Rosales on the other hand has a good record and his only loss is to the monstrously hard hitting Jhonny Gonzalez. A win for Rosales isn't expected, but he should be the best test for Stevenson so far.
Former Indian amateur stand out Vikas Krishan (0-0) will be making his debut on this show as he faces off with Steven Andrade (3-3, 2). The gifted Krishan is a 2-time Olympian who announced his intention to turn professional last year and signed with Top Rank, who will look to guide his career to the top. There are huge hopes for Krishan who will begin his career in a 6 round bout here and will be looking to show what he can do. Sadly Adrade has lost his last 3, his last 2 by stoppage, and it's hard to see Krishan being tested at all here in what is likely to be an easy showcase for his debut.
A third Asian on this show is Uzbek fighter Fazliddin Gaibnazarov (6-0, 3), a 2016 Olympic gold medal winner and a 27 year old who is starting to understand the professional boxing scene. The unbeaten Uzbek will be up against Dominican fighter Ricardo Garcia (14-4-1, 9), in what is a very credible step up in class for Gaibnazarov. The Olympic champion has had his struggles, and was dropped on his debut, but does look to be improving and this is a real test. We would expect Gaibnazarov to win, but it'll be very interesting to see how he looks en route to that win.
We also get some action from Thailand.
In one of the major bouts Flyweight contender Dennapa Kiatniwat (20-1, 15), aka Sarawut Thawornkham, will be up against Filipino foe Mateo Handig (15-17, 9), in what looks likely to be a straight forward win for the Thai, who is currently ranked #1 by the WBA at Flyweight. In recent years Handig has been picking up a lot of losses, and we expect to see another one here against the hard hitting Thai.
On the same card we'll see Teerachai Kratingdaenggym (39-1, 29) make his first defense of the WBA Asia Light Middleweight title he won last year, as he takes on Tanzania's Meshack Mwankemwa (17-5-2, 10), in what we're expecting to be a total mismatch in favour of the Thai fighter.
Our attention to the US this coming Saturday with two different US shows featuring Asia fighters. One of those shows is in Nevada whilst the other is in Massachusetts, and interestingly both cards feature a major Middleweight title bout and a combined 3 Olympic gold medal winners!
For us the more significant card is in Nevada, with two Olympic gold medals winners from Asia on the show.
One of those Olympic gold medal winners is 2012 Middleweight gold medal winner Ryota Murata (14-1, 11) who takes on Rob Brant (23-1, 16). The Japanese fighter will be making his second defense of the WBA “regular” Middleweight title as he faces his first mandatory challenger. Murata has got huge plans for 2019, including a potential bout with Gennady Golovkin. We're really not sure how Brant has managed to work his way into a mandatory position but in his most notable bout to date he was clearly beaten by Juergen Braehmer, who was too good and too smart. We're expecting to see Murata being too power, too determined and too strong for the American challenger. A preview of this bout can be read here - Japanese star Murata takes on the challenge of Rob Brant
The other Olympic gold medal winner is 2016 Light Welterweight Fazliddin Gaibnazarov (5-0, 2), who takes a huge step up in class to battle American based Mexican Wilberth Lopez (23-9, 15). It's fair to say that whilst Gaibnazarov is a talented fighter he hasn't, yet, set the world on fire as a professional and there are worries that he won't live up to the expectations on his shoulders. This should be a great chance for his to prove his value as a professional. Lopez is no world beater, but is the sort of fighter that gives prospects a good test, and we expect to see him perform that duty again here, as he's done against the likes of Ivan Baranchyk, Alex Saucedo and Batyrzhan Jukembayev.
Amazingly we have another gold medal winner in action in Massachusetts as Kazakh fighter Daniyar Yeleussinov (3-0, 1), the 2016 Welterweight gold medal winner will be up against Matt Dougherty (8-5-1, 4). This should be a straight forward win for Yeleussinov, as he takes on a rugged but under-sized foe, though it's been a disappointing and uninspiring start to his professional so far given that former amateur rival Shakhram Giyasov is already fighting notable foes.
Notably this card in Massachusetts will be headlined by a WBO Middleweight title fight, though there is no direct Asian interest in that bout.
In Asia we get a card from Thailand televised by Workpoint. The main event here will see Pongsaklek Sithdabnij (16-5-11, 13) defending his WBC Asian Boxing Council Light Flyweight title against Japanese challenger Seita Ogido (12-3-3, 3). This isn't a huge bout, but it is a very interesting one and a well matched one, with the winner certainly boosting their chance of getting a notable fight in 2019.
This coming Saturday is a pretty busy day for Asian fight fans, with shows of note all across the globe.
Hong Kong S.A.R., China
In Hong Kong fans get a pretty notable, yet small, card as DEF HK continue their relationship with Japanese promotions.
The main event of the card will see 22 year old local Raymond Poon KaiChing (5-1, 3) take on Japanese visitor Ryo Narizuka (8-7-1) in a bout for the WBC Asian Boxing Council Continental Light Flyweight title. KaiChing has won his last 3, but has been matched softly and it's hard to see why he's fighting for a title, even one as lightly regarded as this one. The light punching Narizuka is 1-3-1 in his last 5, but has been matched very hard with his last losses coming to Sho Kimura and Ryuya Yamanaka, both of whom are currently world champions. This has the potential to be a banana skin for the local fighter.
Despite not being the main event the most notable bout, for us at least, will see Japanese tough guy Takuya Watanabe (33-8-1, 18) face off with Indonesian journeyman Hendrik Barongsay (29-27-3, 18). It's not a great bout, given how good Watanabe is, but it is a chance for Watanabe to return to the ring following his loss to Yongqiang Yang earlier this year. The Indonesian, who has lost his last 4, shouldn't pose any sort of a threat to Watanabe, who who is 3-0 in Hong Kong and looking for bigger and better fights than this.
Arguably the most significant single fight with an Asian this coming Saturday will see female Bantamweight champion Aniya Seki (33-3-2, 5) defending her WIBF title against the heavy handed Csilla Nemedi (8-1, 6). The bout isn't just for Seki's WIBF title but also the GBU and WBC Silver titles and should be a compelling match up between the skills and experience of Seki and the heavy handed power of Nemedi.
We'll be able to see several central Asian fighters in action in Russia.
One of those is 23 year old Kazakh Madiyar Zhanuzak (4-0, 1), who will be up against Filipino foe Alphoe Dagayloan (9-2-5-1, 3) in what looks like a really interesting match up. The unbeaten Kazakh has impressed us since his July 2017 debut, but this does look like a genuine step up, and the type of bout that should see him having to prove himself. Aged 26 Dagayloan is the reigning PBF Super Flyweight champion and has gone 5-0-1 in his last 6, including a win over Mateo Handig and Jayar Diama.
Another notable one is Russian based Kyrgyzstan born Erzhan Turgumbekov (2-0), who is taking a massive step up in class to take on the experienced Andrei Isayeu (30-12, 9). The unbeaten Turgumbekov has began his career with back to back wins against limited novices, but this bout seems to suggests that he and his team are now comfortable on moving up against veterans. The 38 year old Isayeu is from Belarus and despite picking up losses he is a tough guy to stop, suggesting that he will take Turgumbekov the scheduled 6 rounds here.
Pathum Thani, Thailand
In Thailand fight fans will be able to see Macau born Lap Cheong Cheong (3-0, 2) look for his 4th straight win. The 21 year old Flyweight hopeful hasn't had his opponent named for the show but it's unlikely he'll be facing someone of any real note.
Turning our attention Stateside there is several notable fighters from Central Asia, with two of those looking to shine in California.
On paper the most exciting of those is the incredibly talented Murodjon Akhmadaliev (2-0, 2), who takes a small step up in class to face off with Luis Fernando Molina (7-4-1, 2). The very highly regarded Akhmadaliev, from Uzbekistan, shone on his debut in March and again in April with many now tipping him to become one of the faces of Uzbek boxing over the coming years. Argentinian fighter Molina showed his toughness last December, when he went 6 rounds with Michael Conlan and this bout gives Akhmadaliev a chance to earn some comparison to the popular Irishman. A stoppage for Akhmadaliev would be impressive, but wouldn't be a massive surprise.
The other Asian fighter on this card is Kazakh Ashkat Ualikhanov (2-1, 2), who looks to record his third straight win as he battles Darel Harris (1-2-1, 1). On debut Ualikhanov was disqualified in 3 rounds and his career has been horribly stop-start since then, but he does have power and talent and will be looking to make an impression here against Harris, who has failed to win aby of his last 3 bouts.
New Orleans, Louisiana, USA
Staying in the US fight fans will be able to see 2016 Olympic Gold medal winner Fazliddin Gaibnazarov (4-0, 2), as he takes on Kevin Johnson (5-0, 4). The unbeaten Uzbek was dropped in the first round of his professional but since then has looked really promising and appears to be on the right track to success, even if he does look some way from a world title fight. On paper this is a step up for the Uzbek and Johnson, not to be confused with the Heavyweight of the same name, is a solid puncher with an unbeaten record of his own and will be coming into this bout on the back of a career best win over Flavio Rodriguez. The Uzbek should come out on top, but this is an interesting match up on paper.
New York, New York, USA
There isn't much Asian action this coming Saturday but we do see one very notable prospect in action in New York.
That prospect is Uzbek fighter Fazliddin Gaibnazarov (3-0, 1), who claimed a gold medal at the 2016 Rio Olympics. The talented Uzbek, who was dropped in his very first round as a professional, has claimed 3 wins since beginning his career in the paid ranked in April 2014 and will be looking to extend that winning run here against Jesus Silveira (8-5-2, 3). Although very talented the Uzbek has got questions over his chin and power as a professional, but has been matched tough and that's the case again here against someone who has never been stopped and should take the Olympic champion to the final bell, again, here.
In a less interesting bout we'll see 21 year old Azeri prospect Rufat Huseynov (2-0, 2) battle against professional loser Gabriel Braxton (2-22, 1), who hasn't scored a win in over 3 years and has lost his last 15 in a row. We understand Huseynov doesn't need to be fast tracked, but this is very slow progression for the youngster who had his first two bouts against win-less opponents, so we guess this is a minor step up, but only just.
Another Kazakh in action is Shyngyskhan Tazhibay (6-0, 2), who looks to kick start his career, which has faltered and been really frustrating so far. The unbeaten 26 year old made his debut in July 2015 and hasn't really moved beyond fighting in preliminary bouts yet. His opponent for this bout hasn't been announced, so we're not expecting to see any type of notable opponent here for him, instead another straight forward win, and potentially his 5th straight decision victory.
In Canada fans will be able to see Indian novice Sukhdeep Singh Bhatti (1-0, 1) fight in his second professional bout, as he takes on fellow novice Abraham Medina (2-2, 2). The 25 year old Bhatti made his debut this past March and is staying busy with a second fight in less than 2 months. Medina has lost his last 2 and we suspect he'll lose again here, but he has proven to be dangerous with both of his wins coming inside the distance.
For a second day running we get some action at the Korakuen Hall, and we again get a card featuring some notable names on the Japanese domestic scene.
Originally the main event of the card was set to see Japanese Middleweight champion Hikaru Nishida (16-8-1, 7) defending his title against Kazuyuki Fukuyama (11-8, 3), Sadly illness has forced Fukuyama out of the contest, and now Nishida will face a Thai visitor instead. The originally made bout did have a little bit of interest, though Nishida was the clear favourite. Sadly the replacement just looks like a stay busy fight for Nishida. In saying that however Nishida has had a string of notable bouts, including a war with Tomohiro Ebisu earlier this year and wins against Makoto Fuchigami, Ratchasi Sithsaithong and Akio Shibata. From what we under-stand the Thai is Vichian K Max Gym (0-1), who was stopped inside a roundby Brandon Lockhart earlier this year, and we expect something similar from Nishida.
In a really good supporting bout we'll see the always fun to watch Gakuya Furuhashi (19-8-1, 9) take on Yoshiyuki Takabayashi (9-8, 4). On paper this looks like a mismatch but Takabayashi is much better than his record indicates and Furuhashi has taken so much punishment in recent bouts it's hard to know what he really has left. We'd assume Furuhashi will come out on top but this is no foregone conclusion, with the only guarantee being that this will be action packed.
Metro Manila, Philippines
In the Philippines fans will get a chance to see a card with an interesting main event between two fighters who are known better for putting up great efforts in losses, rather than their ability to win, but should put on a really good bout against each other.
That main event will see the criminally over-looked Vergil Puton (16-8, 8) battle against Eduardo Mancito (15-6-2, 9). Of the two men Puton is the better known, and has given problems to the likes of JR Magboo, Ye Joon Kim, Shuya Masaki and Ibrahim Balla, proving his ability as an “opponent”, who comes to win but just falls short. As for Mancito he has suffered losses to Thong Sithluangphophun, Jelbirt Gomera, Alberto Guevara, Tomas Rojas and Rey Vargas. This should be a really fun, competitive and exciting fight, but we suspect Puton will take home the win.
In a supporting bout on this card fans will see Malaysian prospect Aiman Abubakar (5-0, 2) face off with Nestor Junio (1-9-2), in what should be a straight forward win for the unbeaten man.
Eastern Cape, South Africa
In South Africa we'll see unbeaten Filipino prospect Jhack Tepora (20-0, 15) take on heavy handed South African Lusanda Komanisi (21-3, 18) in a really good match up on paper. The Filipino has long been tipped as one to watch, and has claimed a number of minor titles through his career but hasn't fought away from his homeland yet. As for Komanisi he's shown brutal power in stopping the likes of Mabute Sinyabi and Roli Gasca, but did need a second bout with Gasca to see him off after a very controversial split decision over him in their first bout. This is a really good match up and will see the winner enhancing their standing and taking huge strides towards a world title fight.
In the US fight fans will get the chance to see 2016 Olympic gold medal winner Fazliddin Gaibnazarov (2-0, 1) fighting in the paid ranks for the 3rd time. The talented Uzbek will be up against Mexican tough guy Victor Rosas (9-6, 3), who has only been stopped once in his 15 fight career. The Uzbek was dropped on debut but went on to stop his foe that night and has since added a nice 8 rounds of experience to his record, and is likely to be fast tracked. Although he will be strongly favoured to defeat the upset minded Rosas, he will likely be looking to gain the experience of the later rounds, so don't be surprised to see this one go the distance.