The biggest show this coming Saturday is in California where we get a world title double header, and interestingly both of those world title fights have a link to Asian boxing with both bouts having an Asian born fighter, and one of the non-Asian's being promoted by Teiken promotions.
One of those bouts will see unbeaten Thai hopeful Teerachai Kratingdaenggym (38-0, 28) take on exciting Argentinian Lucas Martin Matthysse (38-4-0-1, 35) for the WBA Welterweight title. For Matthysse the bout is a huge opportunity to become relevant again at the world stage, more than 2 years removed from his loss to Viktor Postol back in October 2015. Matthysse has been a very popular fighter with an aggressive style and heavy hands, but it's hard to really know what he has left in the tank. The Thai is stepping up massively, but given the huge wins by Srisaket Sor Rungvisai last year he'll feel he too can make a name for himself with a big win in the US. Teerachai has been in more than 30 title fights on the regional scene and whilst he hasn't beaten many fighters of note he has beaten fighters like Vladimir Baez, Larry Siwu and Kaizer Mabuza, who have all posed different questions for the Thai.
The other bout will see Teiken promoted Venezuelan Jorge Linares (43-3, 27) battle Filipino Mercito Gesta (31-1-2, 17), in Linares's latest WBA Lightweight title defense. The talented "El Niño de Oro" has been in great form recently, and is unbeaten in more than 5 years whilst picking up wins against the likes of Nihito Arakawa, Kevin Mitchell, Anthony Crolla and Luke Campbell, but questions over his durability will remain with the 3 surprise stoppage losses linger over his head. For Gesta this is a second shot at a world title, following a bizarre performance against the then IBF champion Vazquez back in 2010, which saw Gesta spending a lot of time looking at the big screen rather than actually fighting. Since the loss to Vazquez we've sene Gesta go 5-0-1 (3) but the reality is that few are giving him a chance here against someone with the skills and experience of Linares. Neither man can really afford a loss, but it's hard to imagine Gesta havign what's needed to give Linares his 4th professional defeat.
Another Filipino on this card is the heavy handed Romero Duno (15-1, 13), who takes on Mexican based Yardley Armenta Cruz (22-9-0-1, 12). The Filipino is an explosive puncher and someone everyone should make an effort to watch. Given that the Mexican has been stopped 6 times already we're expecting another stoppage loss here.
On a second American show fans will be able to see unbeaten Uzbek hopeful Botirali Mamajonov (5-0, 3) seek a 6th straight win. The Uzbek is looking likely to be in another 4 rounder here, and will hopefully begin fighting in longer bouts later in 2018.
Another US show will feature a couple of Asian fighters.
One of these is Japanese Southpaw Gaku Takahashi (15-7-1, 7), who will be up against Cameron Krael (12-12-3, 3). The Japanese fighter has had mixed success in recent fights, but did score a career best victory in 2016, when he stopped Kim Poulsen, and will be looking to get a win here, and rebuild following a less to Jamontay Clark last time out.
American based Uzbek Sanjarbek Rakhmanov (9-0-1, 4) will be on the card seeking his 6th straight win, and looking to continue his rise towards a notable bout. Sadly at the time of writing his opponent for this show hasn't yet been announced.
Back in Asia we will have a card in China, though at the time of writing the only a couple of bouts from the show are known about.
The more notable of the two bouts will see former 2-weight world champion Sirimongkol Singwancha (92-4, 57) continue his long career, as he looks to move one win closer to becoming the latest boxing centurion. The 40year old Thai will be up against China's Fei Hu Wang (5-1, 3), who is less than half the age of Sirimongkol at just 19! The Thai has slowed significantly in recent times, and has lost 2 of his last 3, but will feel like he has a chance here. As for Wang he was beaten last January by a debuting Aleksei Podkolzin, but has since scored back to back wins and will have youth and size, around 7" in height, over the veteran.
The other bout will see 18 year old Qiang Jiang (1-0, 1) take on Ukrainian Oleksii Kostenko (0-1). The Chinese youngster made his debut in July, with a stoppage of another debutant, whilst Kostenko, who debuted in June, was stopped by a Chinese debutant. Hard to know too much about these two, but a bout between them should be decent enough given that both are real novices.
Baja California, Mexico
In Mexico we'll see Filipino veteran Drian Francisco (29-4-1, 22) take on rising Mexican hopeful Edivaldo Ortega (25-1-1, 12). The once touted Francisco is now 35 and is almost certainly coming to the end of his career, which began way back in 2005. A win here would keep him relevant as a fighter, but he'll be the under-dog against Ortega, who is quickly climbing the ranks towards a potential world title fight.
Pocheon, South Korea
It's also worth noting that there is a small, low key card courtesy of BoxingM. The card features a total of 8 bouts, and will include a 14 debuts, showing the level of this card. For those wondering all of the bouts will be 4 rounders.