This weekend seems to be the next step in the rise of boxing's "Russian Revolution" with numerous major bouts, ranging from world title to possible break out bouts, many of which will feature Russian fighters.
The card of the day, by a long shot, is in Russia where we get four very interesting title bouts as well as two contests involving unbeaten Russian prospects taking a step up in class. It is the sort of card that we want to see more of though sadly boxing seems to be having of them.
The first of the prospects expected to be in action is Alexander Sharonov (2-0, 1) fighting in a 6 rounder against Ghana's Godwin Cudjoe (8-6, 7). Cudjoe comes into this fight on a 6 fight winning streak though he will still be seen as an under-dog against the 22 year old Sharanov. The second prospect in action is the very highly touted Sergey Lipinets (3-0, 2) who attempts to record his 4th win as he steps up to fight Daniel Lomeli (22-4, 11) in an 8 round bout. Lipinets was a former kick boxing star with strong amateur pedigree and it seems clear his team are confident in his ability. Some will suggest that Lomeli is an under-sized opponent which is fair but for a main in fight #4 this is an acceptable step for Lipinets who some are tipping very highly.
In a female world title bout we see a re-run of a bout we saw earlier this year. This will see the unbeaten Svetlana Kulakova (9-0-1, 1) battle against WBA female Light Welterweight Ana Laura Esteche (10-3-2, 2). In their meeting earlier this year the two fought to a draw with Kulakova twice being deducted a point. Had it not been for those deductions the Russian would have won the title with a majority decision and many who saw the bout know that that would have been an unjust result. Hopefully we'll see a less scrappy performance form Kulakova who looked really good for 4 round before showing signs of exhaustion in the middle and later rounds.
In a regional title fight we will get to see Andrey Knyazev (10-1, 5), the current Russian Cruiserweight champion, battle against Shalva Jomardashvili (37-8-2, 28) for the vacant WBO Oriental Cruiserweight title. This will be one of three Cruiserweight bouts on the show and is by far the weakest of the three. Knyazev may enter as the Russian champion but he's well down the picking order of top Russian Cruiserweights whilst Jomardashvili has gone 6-5-1 in his last 12 fights and shown that he's never going to be world class.
The two main events of the show are both Cruiserweight title fights. One of those is a WBC Cruiserweight title fight as Poland's Krzysztof Wlodarczyk (49-2-1, 35) attempts to defend his belt against once beaten Russian Grigory Drozd (38-1, 27). The 32 year old Wlodarczyk will be looking for his 6th defence of the WBC title and will be returning to Russia 15 months after stopping the then unbeaten Rakhim Chakhkiev, also in Moscow. As for Drozd this will be his first world title fight, finally getting his shot at the big time. Drozd will be taking part in this fight about a year after his stand out win over the then unbeaten Mateusz Masternak. This is one of those great Cruiserweight bouts that has gone under-the-radar but really does look to be something a bit special.
The other event will see the long awaited return to the ring of WBA champion Denis Lebedev (25-2, 19) who will fight for the first time since his painful loss to Guillermo Jones last year. The all action and always fun to watch Lebedev will be battling against Poland's Pawel Kolodziej (33-0, 18) though there are worries about Lebedev who took a real beating at the hands of Jones and has been inactive, courtesy of an aborted rematch with Jones that saw the Panamanian fail a drugs test on the day of the fight. Kolodziej isn't as good as fellow Pole Wlodarczyk but is still a world class Cruiserweight and could be too much for Lebedev if the Russian isn't 100%.
Metro Manila, Philippines
In Metro Manila we have yet more title action with 2 titles fights and various other domestic contests.
The headline bout of this Filipino show will see Filipino fighter Renan Trongco (15-4, 9) take on Japanese visitor Hayato Yamaguchi (12-4-1, 2) in a battle for the WBC International Flyweight title. For Trongco this will be the first defense of the title he won a year a go when he defeated China's Wang Xin Hua via decision. Yamaguchi is 0-2 in title fights going into this fight, with those losses coming in a Japanese Light Flyweight title fight against Masayuki Kuroda and a WBC Youth Intercontinental Flyweight title fight against Cris Paulino.
A second title fight on this show will see Carleans Rivas (3-1-3) battle against Lady Love Sampiton (1-2, 1) for the Philippines Games & Amusement Board (GAB) female Flyweight title. As far as we are aware this is the inaugural title bout for this title which is a newly created title.
A third notable bout on this show will see Jeffrey Arienza (11-2-1, 6) battle against journeyman Ronald Postrano (7-20-2, 3) in a domestic 12 rounder. Arienza will be looking for his third straight win after suffering back to back defeats last year. As for Postrano he comes into this bout after suffering a trio of defeats and has won just one of his last 11 bouts!
On a small show in Japan we're expecting to see a total of 8 bouts, most of which are 4 rounders.
The main event will see Tatsuya Takahashi (17-5-3, 12) battle against win-less Thai novice Kittichai Or Boonchuay (0-3). On paper this looks like a mismatch and, whilst it's likely to go the way we all expect, Takahashi isn't anything special and is unlikely to ever become a real challenger even on the Japanese domestic scene. We do doubt Kittichai's record and assume that it's incomplete but he should provide little challenge for the Japanese fighter.
As well as a the main event and the 5 bouts scheduled for 4 rounds this show will also feature a pair of 6 rounders though none of the 4 men involved will be known by anyone other than the most hardcore of the hardcore of Japanese boxing fans.
It's not just in Russia that we will see Russian fighters in action and in Canada we will see the very exciting Artur Beterbiev (5-0, 5) taking on his biggest challenge to date. Beterbiev will be attempting to claim the NABA Light Heavyweight title as he battles against former IBF world champion Tavoris Cloud (24-2, 19) and although this is a big step up we're still expecting to see Beterbiev defeat Cloud and announce himself as the most exciting Light Heavyweight prospect on the planet.
(Image courtesy of http://akboxing.ru)
This coming Saturday is an easy day to forget in the boxing world, despite British television channel Boxnation's ridiculous attempt to sell a pay-per-view at £27 in the UK. Despite that it does have numerous interesting bouts through both the Western world and the Asian world.
For us much of the action involves Filipino fighters or Russian's who appear to be spread around the world this weekend.
Metro Manila, Philippines
The most interesting of two Filipino shows is the Elorde Int'l Productions show in Paranaque City, a show that features a staggering 11 bouts!
The stand out contest, by a long way, is the main event contest which features former IBF Minimumweight champion Florante Condes (26-8-1, 22), pictured, battling against promising youngster Cris Alfante (10-1, 3) for the vacant IBF Pan Pacific Minimumweight title. If reputation won bouts then this is in the bag for the hard hitting 33 year old Condes however the 21 year old Alfante will know that a victory will put him on the map so to speak and possibly move him to with 2 or 3 fights of a world title contest.
Unfortunately from the 11 bouts the Alfante/Condes bout is the one stand out match up. Saying that however there is another notable name or two on the card, including Dennis Tubieron (16-3-1, 7) who has gone 1-1 with the hard hitting Hiroki Shiino. Tubieron will be fighting against the limited Samuel Apuya (7-16-1, 4). Although Tubieron has been stopped in 2 of his last 3 it's been more than 10 fights since Apuya last won a contest unfortunately making this a bit of a mismatch.
One other fighter on this card that has got our attention is Virden Rivera (6-0-1, 2) who has won his last 6 contests after drawing on his debut. Rivera moves in to the 10 round distance this weekend as he takes on the more experienced Jovill Marayan (8-15-3, 3).
The other Filipino show is in Batangas and will feature a similarly impressive number of bouts at 10 contests.
The most notable contest on this show is also a title bout, albeit a GAB Super Bantamweight title fight, as the unbeaten JR Magboo (13-0-2, 6) takes on former OPBF title challenger Jhunriel Ramonal (13-6-4, 7). Whilst Magboo does go in to this bout unbeaten Ramonal has faced the much better fighters, including Shingo Wake, Hiromasa Ohashi and Silvester Lopez and it's fair to assume those same men would also have beaten Magboo. This looks like a mismatch though should prove to be a compelling and competitive fight between two men looking to state their claim as the best at their weight in the Philippines.
Aside from the main event the other stand out bout here will see Lolito Sonsona (16-1-4, 6), the cousin of former world champion Marvin Sonsona, fighting against Bobby Concepcion (11-3-1, 5), the younger brother of former world title challenger Bernabe Concepcion. Although this is certainly a bout sold on family "names" it does look a surprisingly good contest, although we do favour the more experienced Sonsona.
This card also features the unbeaten Renerio Arizala (9-0-1, 4) in action against a domestic journeyman.
In Moscow fans will get to see a number of notable Russian fighters, the most well known of which are in the Cruiserweight division.
Amongst these Cruiserweights are Grigory Drozd (37-1, 26) who is nearing a world title fight. Before dreams of world titles however Drozd will need to defeat French Cruiserweight champion Jeremy Ouanna (14-8, 3) in what, in all honesty, should be an easy test for the talented "Pretty Boy". A victory for Drozd will almost certainly see him put next in line for one of the champions.
Another of the Russian Cruiserweights looking to earn a crack at a world title is the aggressive and hard hitting Rakhim Chakhkiev (17-1, 13) who takes on Juho Haapoja (20-4-1, 13) in what looks to be a decent match up but not great. We do love watching Chakhkiev though do tend to feel that if he can't take people out early in a bout he does struggle and this is likely to be the case next time he fights a tough world level opponent.
One other Cruiserweight bout on this card sees Maxim Maslov (12-1-1, 8) taking on Anar Mammadov (6-1) from Azerbaijan. This looks like the biggest mismatch from the Cruiserweight contests.
As well as the Cruiserweight bouts this card also features 3 other contests.
Liverpool, United Kingdom
Another Russian Cruiserweight is in action in the United Kingdom as former WBA interim champion Valery Brudov (41-4, 28) battles against recent Light Heavyweight title challenger Tony Bellew (20-2-1, 12). Bellew, who was stopped last time out by Adonis Stevenson, has claimed that this move was long over-due, despite stating otherwise less than a year ago. Unfortunately Brudov however his career is long over-due and you need to go back to 2006 to find a win of note on his record.
With the WBO International Cruiserweight title up for grabs Brudov may be all to roll back the clock though we doubt it.
In the US a former opponent of Tony Bellew's, Isaac Chilemba (21-2-2, 9) will also be looking for a victory over a Russian as he takes on Light Heavyweight Denis Grachev (13-2-1, 8). We again struggle to see Grachev winning though this should certainly be more interesting than Bellew/Brudov.
In Germany we're expecting to see Azerbaijan's Welterweight hopeful Fariz Mammadov (14-2-1, 8) in action though he currently has no opponent listed.
(Photo courtesy of boxrec.com)