Sanman Gym, General Santos City, Cotabato del Sur, Philippines
This coming Wednesday we'll be getting Filipino action thanks to Sanman promotions. The card isn't a stacked one but it does feature plenty of noteworthy fighters in a 2-part, 10 fight, event.
One of the main bouts will see former world title challenger Froilan Saludar (31-4-1, 22) take on Reymark Taday (10-13-1, 5) in an 8 round Bantamweight bout. This will be Saludar's first bout since losing the WBO Asia Pacific Super Flyweight title in February 2020, to Ryoji Fukunaga. This should be an easy return to the ring for the talented Saludar, but it's hard to know just what he has left to give the sport after being stopped in 2 of his last 5. As for Taday he's experienced but very limited and has gone 1-8 in his last 9.
In another main bout we expect to see fireworks as Rimar Metuda (14-6-1, 8) takes on the highly experienced Eden Sonsona (36-12-2, 13), who will be fighting in his 51st bout. Metuda has lost 3 of his last 5, but started to build some success in late 2019, success he would like to build on now. As for Sonsona he was a tricky fighter, who could score surprise wins as he did in 2015 against Adrian Estrella. Sadly however Sonsona has lost his last 6 and seems to lack the hunger and desire for victory now a days.
In a supporting bout the unbeaten RV Deniega (4-0, 2) will battle against Jovanie Tagusi (6-3-2, 3), in what looks like a very clear step up for Deniega. The unbeaten fighter will be in his first 8 rounder and has looked promising so far, however Tagusi is no push over and he is 4-1-1 (2) in his last 6.
Others on this card include Adam Diu Abdulhamid (15-9, 7), Jake Borena (15-0, 10) and Harmonito Dela Torre (21-3, 13), who add some name value to the rest of the show. Sadly however all 3 men are in what appear to be mismatches.
We get the next Diamond Glove show this coming Thursday from the Korakuen Hall, which features a couple of title bouts.
The main event of the card will see Japanese Lightweight champion Shuichiro Yoshino (10-0, 8) take on Filipino foe Harmonito Dela Torre (20-2, 12) in a bout for both the OPBF and WBO Asia Pacific Lightweight titles. The unbeaten Japanese fighter has looked fantastic in recent bouts, stopping his last 6 foes and running up 4 defenses of the Japanese title. Although this is his first bout above domestic level the view is that he will be strongly favoured and is expected to become a triple champion, before moving on wards and upwards to potential world title fights down the line. Dela Torre was once a hotly tipped young Filipino prospect, but with 2 losses in his last 3 and only 1 win in the last 2 year his rise has hit a brick wall. Dela Torre has got skills but this looks like too much of a step from his last win, which was a decision over domestic journeyman Richard Betos last December, to be competitive with Yoshino here. Our full preview of this bout can be read here - Yoshino and Dela Torre battle for regional domination
A second title fight on this show will see Kenichi Horikawa (40-15-1, 13) defending his Japanese Light Flyweight title against Yuto Takahashi (10-4, 5). This is a really interesting match up between two flawed, yet determined fighters at very different stages of their career's. The 39 year old Horikawa is in the Indian summer of his career and has reeled off 8 wins since losing in 2017 to Tetsuya Hisada. Coming in to this Horikawa has already made 1 defenses this year and will know another win will guarantee him a fight at the Champion Carnival next year. On the other hand Takahashi is 26, just reaching his physical prime and comes into the bout on the back of solid performance against Tatsuya Fukuhara, Ryoki Hirai and Yuta Nakayama. Takahashi could well be getting to Horikawa at the perfect time. Our full preview of this bout can be read here Horikawa defends Japanese title against Takahashi in a battle of circumstance
Also on this card is the second bout of novice professional Kazuhiro Imamura (1-0, 1), who takes on the frustratingly fragile Kiyohei Endo (3-2, 3). Originally Endo was tipped as one to watch, following a 42-18 amateur career. Sadly however he was stopped by a journeyman on debut and has never managed to really get going, and a loss in his third bout to Toshiki Shimomachi didn't help. On the other hand Imamura debuted back in March following a 32-20 amateur career, and he'll be hoping to build on his debut win. This is an interesting fight, given given that neither can really afford a loss. Saying that however we don't think Endo will have toughened up, and if Imamura puts it on him we see Endo being stopped again here.
Action returns to Osaka this coming Saturday for what is a pretty notable card at the EDION Arena. The card features a second generation fight and a former world title challenger.
The second generation fighter is Juiki Tatsuyoshi (9-0, 6), the boxing son of the enigmatic Joichiro Tatsuyoshi. The unbeaten Tatsuyoshi will be taking a notable step up in class as he goes up against 35 year old veteran Yuki Hirashima (9-2-1, 3), in what looks like a solid test for the youngster. Tatsuyoshi turned professional under the shadow of his father but has slowly started to make his own mark and has now shown the ability to go 8 rounds, as he did against Shun Ishibashi. Hirashima lacks a notable win, but he comes into this bout as someone who knows a good performance could secure him a lot of attention in the new year, whilst a third career defeat may well end his career.
The former world title challenger on this card is Japanese veteran Hiroshige Osawa (33-5-4, 19), who is likely aware that can't afford another loss if he wants a second world title fight. Osawa is best known for losing to Oscar Valdez in a show for the WBO Featherweight title, and since then he is 3-1, losing last time out to former WBA Super Bantamweight champion Shun Kubo. In the opposite corner to Osawa will be world ranked Colombian Belmar Preciado (18-1-1, 11), who is fighting in Asia for the first time in his career. It's hard to say much about Preciado, but his competition so far does little to suggest he's actually a world class fighter, and Osawa will certainly feel confident of picking up a win here. We've done a full preview of this fight here Osawa and Preciado fight in must win contest!
Originally announced for the card was a bout between Ginjiro Tsutsumimoto (2-0, 2) and Thailand's Amphol Suriyo (23-3, 19), sadly however Tsutsumimoto has been removed from this bout and replaced by 28 year old countryman Takayuki Sakai (7-1-2, 5). The Thai visitor is a former OPBF title challenger who will be riding a high coming in to this bout, on the back of a huge upset win over Kazuki Saito in Tokyo. As for Sakai, he is riding a 4 fight winning run, with 3 straight stoppages, but this is a big step up in class for him.
Although Ginjiro is off this card his brother, the heavy handed Kyosuke Tsutsumimoto (8-1, 7), will be on the show. The once beaten Tsutsumimoto and Anurak Madua (6-2, 4), a Thai who is riding a 4 fight winning run. Tsutsumimoto is a big puncher, and has won his last 4 by stoppage since losing a decision in 2016. Interestingly both of Madua's losses have come in previous visits to Japan.
Having mentioned a couple of Thai's it's worth noting that Thailand will host a show of it's own, as former amateur stand out Apichet Petchmanee (1-0, 1) takes on the hard hitting Sadudee Tor Buamas (8-0, 6) in a bout for the OPBF Silver Light Welterweight title. Apichet impressed on debut, stopping the then 13-0 Attanon Kunlawong, and looks like he might be one of the brightest hopefuls in Thailand, and at 29 he knows he will need to be moved quickly. The 25 year old Sadudee Tor Buamas hasn't fought in a while, but is a former PABA Light Welterweight champion and can punch. This a very interesting match up and one we're really looking forward to.
In the Philippines we'll see unbeaten puncher Christian Araneta (16-0, 14) take on journeyman Vincent Bautista (5-11-4, 1). This is little more than a stay busy fight for Araneta, who really is on the verge of a major fight, and really we do expect him to score a clear win. It is however worth noting that Bautista was generally regarded as being durable, but he has suffered 2 recent stoppage losses and looks to be a man feeling the effects of a hard career.
Also on this card is Harmonito Dela Torre (19-2, 12), who is looking to bounce back from successive losses. The once touted Dela Torre, who has been beaten by Tugstsogt Nyambayar and Yongqiang Yang, will be up against experienced veteran Richard Betos (20-21-2, 7). Betos is very limited and shouldn't be competitive with the talented Dela Torre.
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
This coming Sunday we get one of the biggest shows of the year, possibly in fact the show of the year, as Pacquiao fever takes over Malaysia for a stacked card with 4 world title fights, and a number of notable under-card fights.
The main event will see Manny Pacquiao (59-7-2, 38) challenge WBA Welterweight champion Lucas Martin Matthysse (39-4-0-1, 36) in what is really a must win for both men. The Filipino icon, 39, hasn't fought in over a year with his last outing being a controversial decision loss to Jeff Horn in Australia. In fact we now need to go back to November 2016 to find Pacquiao's last win, which came against Jessie Vargas. At his best Pacquiao was a destructive dervish in the ring, but he is several years beyond his best. Matthysse also looks to be on the slide, and looked like a shadow of himself last time out against Teerachai Kratingdaenggym. Although a dynamite puncher, with under-rated skills, Matthysse can be out boxed, and can be made to look slow and predictable. We're not sure what to expect here, but with both men being past their prime neither can really afford a loss.
In another of the world title bouts we'll see former IBF Flyweight champion Moruti Mthalane (35-2, 24) look to reclaim that title as he faces South Korean based Pakistani Muhammad Waseem (8-0, 6). The IBF Flyweight title became when Donnie Nietes vacated it, to move up to Super Flyweight, and as a result we have a brilliant match up here. At his best Mthalane was a leading Flyweight, an aggressive but technically sound fighter with wins against the likes of Hussein Hussein, Julio Cesar Miranda, Zolani Tete, Johnriel Casime and Ricardo Nunez. Sadly though the former champion is now 35, ancient for a Flyweight. Waseem on the other hand was on the fast track to the top to begin his career, but financial issues have slowed his rise and he's spent the last year treading water to keep off ring rust. At his best Waseem is an excellent boxer, but this is easily his toughest test to date. This could be a really high class contest.
Another of the title fights could, potentially, be an historic one. The bout in question sees WBA Light Flyweight champion Carlos Canizales (20-0-1, 16) defending his belt against Chinese novice Lu Bin (1-0, 1). The Chinese 23 year old is looking to become the new record holder for the fewest fights to win a world title, doing so in 2 fights, and the confidence of Bin suggests he believes he can do it. He was a former amateur stand out and, like Vasyl Lomachenko, wanted to be fast tracked in the professional ranks. A win for Bin really would raise the bar for what is expected of true “super prospects”. Canizales on the other hand is looking for his first defense, after winning the title against Reiya Konishi earlier this year. The Venezuelan puncher is a fearsome fighter who's only set back was a split decision draw with Ryoichi Taguchi, and coming into this bout he may well be the best fighter at 108lbs, though obviously has stiff competition from the likes of Ken Shiro. We suspect Canizales will be the favourite but Bin is not there to roll over and lose.
The 4th world title bout will see Filipino Jhack Tepora (21-0, 16) battle against Mexican Edivaldo Ortega (26-1-1, 12) for the WBA “interim” Featherweight title. The talented Tepora has long been tipped as one of the most promising young Filipino fighters and has picked up a number of minor titles in recent years but this is a big step up from the likes of Lusanda Komanisi, who Tepora stopped in eye opening fashion last September. The Filipino is flawed but has lights out power and will be a very dangerous fighter to go toe-to-toe with. Ortega is an all-action fighter with a come forward pressure style. He has scored notable wins over the likes of Juan Carlos Carlos Sanchez Jr, Tomas Rojas and Drian Francisco, but has never been in with someone who has power like Tepora. We're expecting to see Ortega bring the action and Tepora look for counters in what could be an absolute barn burner.
The under-card here is littered with great match ups, including a bout between unbeaten Chinese fighter Yongqiang Yang (10-0, 7) and once beaten Filipino Harmonito Dela Torre (19-1, 12), in what really could be a very special bout. Another good looking contest will see the hard hitting Filipino Jayar Inson (16-1, 11) taking on Aussie foe Terry Tzouramanis (20-3-3, 3) in what could be a very exciting contest.
As well as the big Malaysian show there will also be a smaller, though somewhat notable, card in Aichi.
The main event of this Aichi card will see 2017 Super Featherweight Rookie of the Year Musashi Mori (6-0, 5) battling against Filipino foe Allan Vallespin (12-2, 9). The 18 year old Mori is one to watch, blessed with natural power, speed and skills he appears to be a fighter who could find himself in the title mix in 2 or 3 years, if he can continue to rack up wins. On paper this is a notable step up in class for the Japanese teenager, given that Vallespin's only losses have come to very decent fights in the form of Masaru Sueyoshi and Denys Berinchyk. This is a a really interesting bout and a very tough test for Mori.
Also on this card is the hard hitting Arashi Iimi (5-1, 5), who takes on Suntorn Panhom (2-2, 1) on Thailand. The Japanese fighter came runner up in the 2017 Rookie of the Year at Super Bantamweight and has since bounced back with a stoppage over Shuto Takase in April. This will be his first bout against a non-Japanese fighter. Panhom comes into this on the back of back-to-back losses and we're not expecting him to to handle the power of Iimi, at all.
There is also a small card in Korea courtesy of the KBA.
The headline bout here will see WBA female Super Featherweight champion Hyun Mi Choi (15-0-1, 4) defending her title against Argentinian challenger Mayra Alejandra Gomez (18-7, 4). Choi, the only current Korean world champion, will be looking to extend her reign and increase her profile with this win as she attempts to make her 6th defense of the title. The champion, a tall and rangy fighter, should be strongly favoured, but Gomez has fought at world level before and has proven to be no push over against the likes of Jackie Nava.
Also on this card will be Ji Hyun Park (22-3, 6), who will be up against a Thai foe. The Korean is a IFBA, WIBA and WIBF world champion who will be looking to add a WBF International Minimumweight title to her collection. Although she's a multi-time title winner Park was beaten last time out in a WBO world title fight by Kayoko Ebata, in what was her first defeat in over a decade. We suspect she'll be back to winning ways here.
New York, USA
In the US we get a number of Asian fighters in action.
One of those is the eye catching and fun to watch Shohjahon Ergashev (11-0, 11), who impressed back in January when he defeated Sonny Fredrickson. The Uzbek hopeful will be facing off with Chinese fight Zhimin Wang (10-2, 3) in what should be another chance for Ergashev to show case his skills. Wang isn't a terrible fighter, but he is naturally smaller than the Uzbek and is essentially taking a a pea shooter into a gun fight against Ergashev's brutal power.
Unbeaten Kazakh hopeful Dimash Niyazov (13-0-3, 6) will be seeking an 8th straight win as he goes up against limited Mexican Angel Sarinana (7-7-2, 3). Niyazov doesn't have the look of being the next Kazakh star but should be far too good for Sarinana, who lacks power and has already been stopped in 4 of his 7 losses.
The most interesting Asian on this card is Kazakh debutant Daniyar Yeleussinov (0-0). The Kazakh won gold at Rio 2016 and is touted to be a very special professional, given just how strong and impressive his amateur credentials are. He signed with Eddie Hearn's Matchroom Sports and is likely to matched aggressively. Sadly at the time of writing the opponent for his debut is unknown though we're not expecting any one too notable given the short notice.
In Hyogo Japanese fans get a really interesting card with two notable bouts.
The most interesting of those will see former world champion Shun Kubo (12-1, 9) take on former world title challenger Hiroshige Osawa (33-4-4, 19). The bout is being sold as a “survival match” for the two men, with neither really able to afford a loss at this point. For Kubo this bout will be his first as a fully fledged Featherweight and his first since losing the WBA Super Bantamweight title to Daniel Roman last September. For Osawa this bout will see him hunting a 4th straight win since his 2016 loss to Oscar Valdez. The winner of this will move towards another world title fight, whilst the loser could well be looking down the end of a barrel.
In a supporting bout we'll see former OPBF Bantamweight champion Takahiro Yamamoto (20-5, 17) battle against Filipino visitor Jestoni Autida (11-7, 5). The Japanese slugger will be looking for his third straight stoppage win since having the title ripped out of his hands in November 2016 by Mark John Yap. At his best Yamamoto is a pure raw heavy handed slugger who can be a nightmare to fight, though his competition since his loss to Yap has been poor. Autida on the other hand is one of the many under-rated Filipino fighters, and he has toughness and ability to give Yamamoto real fits here. Although on paper a mismatch Autide has mixed with top level company, and suffered losses to fighters like Ryo Matsumoto and Petch Sor Chitpattana, so we do not expect this to be a walk in the park for Yamamoto.
One other bout of note on this card is a bout between Retsu Kosaka (8-3, 3) and Koichi Ito (11-6-3, 10). This should be a pretty interesting contest, despite neither fighter being particularly goo. Ito really does have nasty power and if he connects Kosaka could be in trouble, however Kosaka has the edge in skills and could be simply too good for the cruder fighter.
A second Japanese show will come from Osaka, where we get a relatively low key card.
The main event is a very interesting match up as Matcha Nakagawa (12-1-1, 5) faces off with Yuki Iriguchi (9-2-1, 4) in a bout for the Japanese Youth Bantamweight title. This is one of the many interesting match ups to come from the Japanese Youth title scene. Coming into this one Nakagawa is riding a 3 fight winning run since losing unbeaten record in late 2016 to Ryohei Takahashi. Iriguchi on the other hand lost his unbeaten record last time out in a split decision loss to Takuya Mizuno. Given the quality of these two fighters this match up should be very competitive and compelling, even if it does lack in terms of excitement.
Also on this card will be Shingo Kawamura (15-3-1, 7) and Daiki Tomita (11-0, 3), who will both be fighting Thai foes. We haven't got the names of the visiting fighters, which should really sum up the quality of the opponents in this bout, and both Kawamura and Tomita will be expecting to pick up wins here.
The day is set to be an incredibly busy on in the Philippines. The most notable of the shows is to come from Glan in Saragani province.
The main event of this card will see unbeaten fighters collide in a bout for the WBO Oriental Youth Super Flyweight title. The bout will see Jade Bornea (10-0, 7) take on Danrick Sumabong (5-0, 4) in what should be a really good match up. Bornea was a top Filipino amateur before turning professional and should be favoured, but 19 year old Sumabong is a hard hitting with confidence and could prove to be the sort of opponent who could give Bornea absolute fits.
Other fighters on this card are Harmonito Dela Torre (19-1, 12), Jayson Mama (9-0, 5), Mark Bernaldez (15-1, 10) and Jake Bornea (13-2, 7). None of them are expecting to face any sort of tests, but the promoters do look like they are stacking the card with notable hopefuls and prospects.
Another Filipino card with a title bout headlining it will see the unbeaten Carl Jammes Martin (7-0, 6) take on Tanzanian Hashimu Zuberi (14-2, 4) in a bout for the WBO Asia Pacific Youth Bantamweight title. The 18 year old Martin has been really impressive on the lower level of the Filipino domestic scene but this is a notable step up and he will have to prove that he is one to watch with this bout. As for Zuberi he lacks power but the 22 year old showed his toughness in 2016, when he went 12 rounds with Rakniran Muadransarakam. He was stopped last year by Andrew Moloney, in 4 rounds, but is a fantastic test for the unbeaten Martin.
Agusan del Norte, Philippines
In Agusan del Norte fans will get the chance to see another low key card, headlined by Monico Laurente (29-13, 6) battling against Ralph Jhon Lulu (12-2-2, 5), who we believe was a late replacement for JP Macadumpis. On paper this is a decent match up, especially given that Laurente is on the slide, however Lulu has lost his last two bouts and is 20 months removed from a win, which came against the limited Junjie Lauza.
Metro Manila, Philippines
In Metro Manila fans get a title double header.
One of the bouts on this card will see the aggressive Allan Vallespin (11-2, 8) defending his GAB Super Featherweight title against the limited Warren Mambuanag (11-9-2, 3). Both of Vallespin's losses have been by stoppage, with the Filipino being stopped by both Masaru Sueyoshi and Denys Berinchyk, and he shouldn't be worried about Mambuanag's power here. The challenger has 4 of his last 5, including a loss to Vallespin in December 2016, and will be a major under-dog coming in to this bout.
A second title fight will see Mugicha Nakagawa (22-5-1, 13), the brother of the aforementioned Match Nakagawa, battle against Ricky Manufoe (27-32-3, 10) for the WBA Asia East Super Bantamweight Title. This should be a mismatch and a pretty straight forward win for Nakagawa, who impressed us last year when he came up just short against Yasutaka Ishimoto. Indonesian foe Manufoe has lost 4 of his last 5, and is likely to be beaten again here.
This coming Saturday is a genuine brilliant day for fight fans who follow the Asia fight scene, with a couple of world title bouts, along side a number of other interesting contests.
Belfast, Northern Ireland
The biggest fight of the weekend for Asian fight fans takes places in Belfast and will see IBF Super Flyweight champion Jerwin Ancajas (27-1-1, 18) make his third defense of the title, as he takes on unbeaten challenger Jamie Conlan (19-0, 11). In some ways Ancajas is the forgotten man at 115lbs, a talented and beautiful to watch pure boxer, but a man who lacks the star power of Naoya Inoue, the hype of Kal Yafai and the power of Srisaket Sor Rungvisai. Although over-looked by many he's going to be looking to make a mark here. As for Conlan he's a man who really can't help but be involved in thrilling contests, no matter who he's against. The bout will be a massive step up for the unbeaten man, but he's almost certain to put on a show, win or lose.
Incheon, South Korea
Another world title fight takes place in Korea and will see WBA female Super Featherweight champion Hyun Mi Choi (14-0-1, 4) seek her next defense, as she faces off with Mexican challenger Jessica Gonzalez (7-3-2-3, 1). Choi is Korea's only world champion,and is one of the few beacons of success for Korean boxing, but has lacked suitable competition in recent fights and hasn't really been able to show her skills. Gonzalez is a decent enough foe, but falls much into the same categories as Choi's other recent foes, in being limited and lacking the skills, and likely desire, to let the champion shine.
In a minor title bout we'll see Korean local Hye Soo Park (4-7-1, 1) take on the unbeaten Hei Tao Zhang (2-0, 1) for the WBF Intercontinental Light Flyweight. The match up is an interesting one, though nothing too remarkable, with the most interesting thing being the step up for the unbeaten 19 year old Chinese hopeful.
Although there are a couple of world title fights featuring Asian fighters we dare suggest that the most interesting bout to feature an Asian is actually a non-title fight, between two unbeaten Asian fighters. The fight in question will see the very highly regarded Mongolian talent Tugstsogt Nyambayar (8-0, 8) taking on Filipino Harmonito Dela Torre (19-0, 12). The winner of this will push themselves well on the way to a world title fight, in the often over-looked Super Bantamweight division, whilst the winner will have to rebuild their careers.
Da Lian, China
In China we get a small card, with a main event that promises explosive action.
That main event is a WBO Youth Super Middleweight title bout, between China's Wuzhati Nuerlang (8-1, 8) and Ghana's Iddrisa Amadu (9-1, 9). With 17 stoppage wins in a combined 19 fights we're expecting this to be a lot of fun, very exciting and very hard hitting.
Another bout of some note on this show will see the unbeaten Xiaolu Mu (8-0-1, 3) take on the once beaten Shidong Cai (5-1-1, 2). This should be an interesting contest even if it does lack any sort of international appeal.
New South Wales, Australia
Interestingly on we'll see the debuting Natalie Jenkinsen (0-0) take on Thai Siriwan Thongmanit (6-10-1), who is a former world title challenger and has twice been stopped by the aforementioned Hyun Mi Choi.
New York, USA
The end the week American fight fans get their first chance to see, in the flesh, Filipino hopeful Harmonito Dela Torre (17-0, 12), as he makes his US debut against journey man Guillermo Sanchez (15-18-1, 6). The highly touted Dela Torre is tipped to be a star of the future, and whilst he should beat Sanchez with out any worries the key will be to look good and not just win.
There will be two cards in Thailand, one of which is a show from Nakornluang Promotions who will be show casing two of their best fighters.
The most notable of those fighters is Super Flyweight destroyer Srisaket Sor Rungvisai (37-4-1, 34) [ศรีสะเกษ นครหลวงโปรโมชั่น] who is going to take part in a stay busy bout ahead of rematch with current WBC Super Flyweight champion Carlos Cuadras. Although we're not sure who Srisaket will be fighting we have been informed that it will be an Indonesian opponent and the bout will only be a stay busy.
The other fighter is unbeaten Flyweight contender Nawaphon Por Chokchai (31-0, 24) [นวพล นครหลวงโปรโมชั่น] who is the mandatory challenger to Roman Gonzalez. The unbeaten Nawaphon will not be facing a test here with Nakornluang not risking his big bout later in the year, they may however petition the WBC to strip Gonzalez if the Nicaraguan does make the move up to Super Flyweight later in the year.
We believe this card will be aired on Channel 7 in Thailand.
The other Thai show will be put on by Kiatkreerin and features several notable fighters again.
The main event of the card sees the experienced Mike Tawatchai (37-8-1, 21) defending his IBF Pan Pacific title against Japanese visitor Shingo Kawamura (11-2-1, 6). For Tawatchai this is his most notable fight since last June when he was widely beaten by IBF #1 ranked contender Shingo Wake whilst for Kawamura this is a big step up and sees him fighting in his first title bout.
Also in action here will be former Olympic star Manus Boonjumnong (3-0, 1) [มนัส บุญจำนงค์]. Sadly we're unsure who Manus will be up against but we do need to confess we have been impressed by him so far.
For fans interested in this one, it will be aired on Thairath
In Arizona there will be two Asian fighters in action.
In the most notable of the two bouts fans will see touted Filipino Harmonito Dela Torre (17-0, 12) risk his record against Rafael Guzman (16-1-1-1, 10). On paper this looks like a genuinely tasty match up though we do wonder how good Guzman is given his competition so far has been relatively poor. If Guzman is as good as the numbers suggest however, then we may be in for a genuine treat here with the Filipino being given a real test.
The other Asian in action is Kazak puncher Bakhtiyar Eyubov (9-0, 9), who takes a huge step up as he faces Jared Robinson (16-2-1, 7). The bout should pose real questions of both men and be a genuinely interesting fight. Eyubov, as mentioned, is stepping up massively whilst Robinson has faced some quality fighters like Amir Imam, who stopped him in 4, Michael Perez, who took a decision win against him, and Haskell Rhodes, who he fought to a draw. This really is a fantastic match up and credit to both men for taking it.
This year has been slow however we do see life and this Saturday sees a lot of interesting action. We have a brilliant bout in Japan, we have a notable prospect in the Philippines and two brilliant Chinese debutants in the US. What more could we want?
The first major bout in Japan this year comes this Saturday on a card that we have been excited about since it was first announced, and we won't pretend that the main event didn't make our hearts race when when we first learned of it.
We might as well start with that aforementioned main event which will see the unbeaten Jomthong Chuwatana (8-0, 4) defending his OPBF Super Featherweight title against former world title challenger Daiki Kaneko (21-3-3, 14). The bout is between two of the division's most talented, strong and naturally powerful fighters and is almost certainly going to be a highly skilled battle of power. Going into the bout it's a hard one to call. Kaneko is the home fighter and has been more active as a boxer recently however Jomgthong hasn't allowed rust to build up despite 1 boxing contest in the last 21 months due to the fact he has been active in Muay Thai, where he has an exceptional record. The winner of this deserves a world title fight and we'd not be massively shocked if the winner here got a shot at any of the current world champions, including Takashi Uchiyama and Takashi Miura. This really is as good a bout as you can get in the Super Featherweight division, barring unification bouts.
As well as the brilliant main event there is also a pair of notable All-Japanese Middleweight bouts on the card. For us the most interesting of those is the bout between the heavy handed Shoma Fukumoto (5-1, 5) and Kazuyuki Fukuyama (9-5, 2). Fukumoto is regarded as a potential national champion though there are questions about his chin. Those questions are unlikely to be asked by Fukuyama however we may see Fukumoto's stamina being given a test here.
The other Middleweight bout will see former Japanese champion Tomohiro Ebisu (12-4, 12) put his “stop or be stopped” reputation on the line as he battles the chinny Tatsuro Kawabata (6-5, 2). It's hard to see Ebisu losing here though he has lost 2 of his last 3 and there are serious worries about his chin and defences.
Another fighter on this card worth making a note of is Naoki Mochizuki (5-1, 4) who will be fighting against the more experienced Takuma Okada (5-9, 2). Mochizuki's sole loss came to the very good Sonin Nihei and it's fair to say the 20 year old puncher is worth keeping tabs on even if he's not going to be on the fast track to the top.
Cotabato del Sur, Philippines
It's not just Japanese fans who get a show on their doorstep as Filipino fans also get the chance to go and see live fights as SANMAN Promotions put on a small but interesting card.
The main event here will see the much touted Harmonito Dela Torre (14-0, 9) battle against JR Mendoza (10-17, 4) in what looks to be stay busy fight for the talented 20 year old prospect. We'll admit we do like Dela Torre, a lot, but this bout is a big step backwards compared to some of his other recent bouts and it's a bit of a shame he's not being moved forward with his career.
In the co-feature fans will see Ronie Tanallon (4-1-1, 1) up against the highly experienced Jonathan Ricablanca (7-45-2, 1) in what appears to be another mismatch, however this should be a more competitive bout that the main event.
Chinese fans will also have something to look forward to as two former Chinese amateur stand outs will be making their professional boxing debuts.
One of those men will be Wang Zhimin (0-0), who has yet to have his opponent named, whilst the other is Meng Fanlong (0-0) who will be fighting against the win-less Marcellus Yates (0-1) in what appears to be an easy start to his career.
District of Columbia, USA
Also in the US fans will get the chance to see Uzbekistan's limited Middleweight Rahman Mustafa Yusubov (11-19, 9) battle against Demond Nicholson (10-1, 10). Yusubov has lost his last 4 bouts however Nicholson was upset last time out in a contest he was expected to win and it may be that his confidence is now shot. Yusubov will be the clear under-dog though hopefully he will go for the win rather than turn up just to lose.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
Cotabato del Sur, Philippines
The only show in Asia this coming Saturday is in the Philippines and is only a small, relatively low profile card though one that does feature some of the most promising youngsters fighting in the Philippines today.
The most notable of those prospects is the unbeaten Harmonito Dela Torre (13-0, 8) who will be defending his WBF interim Super Featherweight title against Indonesian journeyman Isack Junior (22-5-2, 8). Junior has proven to be less than stellar when he's stepped up and in his last 6 fights he won just 2 of them whilst being stopped in 3 of them, including an opening round blow out defeat earlier this year to Albert Pagara. Dela Torre is really promising but he really should be stepped up beyond this level in coming fights as he is beyond the level of Junior and will learn nothing from this bout, sadly.
Another unbeaten Filipino prospect in action on this show is John Vincent Moralde (10-0, 6) who will be hoping to claim the WBF international Super Bantamweight title when he takes on Indonesia's Jason Butar Butar (16-13-1, 12). Butar Butar is probably better known by western fans than Moralde, after all he has been featured on one of the Macao shows, incidentally fighting Dela Torre on that show, though he is a limited fighter and shouldn't prove any sort of a challenge for Moralde who's looked good in almost everyone of his bout so far.
A third prospect in action is the once beaten Jake Bornea (6-1, 3) who will be hoping to bounce back from his loss, last time out to Raymond Tabugon, as he takes on the tough but incredibly limited Renante Suacasa (6-12, 1). Bornea is just a teenager though some have tipped him to go all the way and despite the early career set back it's clear he has got potential to be something special. Suacasa is tough but shouldn't do much more than lose a clear decision here.