This coming Saturday is a hectic day for Asian fight fans with a lot of action all crammed into a single day, and taking place all over the place. It might not be Christmas yet, but this weekend is set to feature a lot of gifts for us fight fans.
On paper the most significant bout of the weekend, at least in terms of Asian boxing, will see IBF Super Flyweight champion Jerwin Ancajas (31-1-2, 21) take on Chilean challenger Miguel Gonzalez (31-2, 8), in Mexico. This bout has been arranged in a haste after a previously scheduled bout for Ancajas fell though, and although it looks good on paper we don't see this being anything other than a straight forward win for Ancajas. The Filipino has been frustrating at times, but he is a world class fighter and Gonzalez on the other hand has been easily beaten by the two world level guys he's faced. We're expecting a stoppage from Ancajas here, even if Gonzalez does end up being an awkward assignment. A full preview of this can be read here IBF king Ancajas faces Chilean challenger
New York, USA
Another bout with meaning at world level will see former WBO Bantamweight champion Marlon Tapales (33-2, 16) take on former IBF Super Bantamweight champion Ryosuke Iwasa (26-3, 16) in a bout for the IBF "interim" Super Bantamweight title. The interim title has been created due to injuries suffered by Danny Roman, and despite interim titles not being great for boxing this bout is a brilliant one, and we're looking forward to this. Both fighters are world class, both can bang and they should be well matched, with styles that we're expecting will gel well. This should be very exciting, and we'd be shocked if we get through 12 rounds here.
In Japan we have a lot of action, with the most notable of the Japanese action coming from Tokyo, where we'll get a title double header, featuring two Super Featherweight title bouts. For fans wanting to watch this the show will be broadcast live on G+.
The most notable of the title fights will see WBO Asia Pacific Super Featherweight champion Joe Noynay (18-2-1, 7) defending his title against Kenichi Ogawa (24-1, 18). This year has been a huge one for Noynay, who has already travelled to Japan and stopped Kosuke Saka and Satoshi Shimizu, and a win here against Ogawa will put him well and truly in the world title mix. For Ogawa a win here would put him on the verge of a second world title fight. We expect bombs to be thrown, we wouldn't be surprised if both men were badly hurt at some point, and this is an ideal headliner for a televised card. Our preview of this fantastic match up can be read here Noynay looks to extend "Japanese Killer" run as he takes on Ogawa
The other title bout on this show will see Japanese Super Featherweight champion Masaru Sueyoshi (19-1-1, 11) defending his title against former Japanese Featherweight champion Kosuke Saka (19-5, 16). For Sueyoshi this bout will be his 5th defense, and if he wins we wouldn't be massively surprised to see him vacating the title in the new year to pursue regional, if not world, honours. For Saka this is a chance to put a very mixed 24 months, in which he has gone 3-2 (2), behind him and would end the year on the high following a loss to Noynay back in April. Saka has the power to hurt Sueyoshi, but Sueyoshi has the skills to outfox and out think Saka, in what is a compelling match up. Our preview of this bout can be read here Sueyoshi takes on Saka in next Japanese title defense
Also on this card will be Teiken trio Hikari Mineta (7-1, 4), Daiki Funayama (10-3-1, 3) and Koki Mioya (6-1-2, 1) who will all be taking on limited Thai opposition in what look like stay busy fights to close out the year.
A second Japanese show takes place in Kanagawa, and although much lower profile it features another title bout.
That title bout will see Japanese female Featherweight champion Kimika Miyoshi (14-12-1, 5) defending her belt against unbeaten novice Aira Midorikawa (5-0, 1), in what will be Mioyoshi's first defense of her second reign. Miyoshi claimed the belt in September, when she took a split decision win over Miki Mitsuda, ending a 4 fight losing in a bit of an upset. Although Mitsuda was no world beater we hadn't seen Miyoshi win a fight in over 3 years! Midorikawa is taking a huge step up, and although she's unbeaten she is very untested ahead of this bout, her first title bout. It'll be a huge ask for Midorikawa, but Miyoshi is certainly not unbeatable. An in depth of preview of this bout can be read here Veteran Miyoshi takes on Midorikawa in Featherweight title bout
Despite the title bout on this show the main event is technically a rematch between Yui Oikawa (7-5, 4) and Seiryu Toshikawa (11-5, 7). Coming in Oikawa has been stopped in his last 2, and desperately needs a win. He'll be driven on not only by the need of a win, but by a chance of getting to avenge a 2016 loss to Toshikawa, who beat him with a 4 round split decision. On paper Toshikawa might not look great but he's much better than his record suggests and he'll be looking to score his second win since suffering a razor thin loss in a Japanese Youth title fight to Shawn Oda in 2018.
A third Japanese show takes place in Hyogo, where fans get a card with several noteworthy names on it.
In the main event we'll see Japanese and OPBF ranked Minimumweight Ryoki Hirai (12-6-1, 4) take on the limited Hirohisa Ichikawa (7-7-2, 2). We've long seen Hirai as a fighter with a lot of potential, but someone who has faltered in many of his toughest bouts. Here we expect him to shine, as he looks to build to a title fight of some kind in 2020. With just 1 win in the last 4 years it's hard to imagine Ichikawa giving Hirai much of a test, but he could give Hirai some rounds.
World ranked fighter Kazuhiro Nishitani (20-4-1, 12) looks to continue his slow build towards a meaningful fight as he takes on Filipino veteran Monico Laurente (30-15, 7). The 32 year old Nishitani has won his last 5 by stoppage, including a notable upset win against Shuhei Tsuchiya for the Japanese Lightweight title in 2017. Sadly he has failed to make anything of his career after that win and vacated the title rather than defend it, which has done his career no favours as he continues to meander in the middle of cards in meaningless bouts like this one. Laurente isn't an awful opponent, but is certainly not a step forward for Nishitani who really has lost all the momentum of his win over Laurente.
Another bout of some note on this card will see Hiroki Tokuyama (9-1-1, 2) take on Chikato Sumida (8-3, 1). This will see Tokuyama defending his JBC and OPBF rankings and score a 5th straight win. Sumida isn't terrible, but we don't see him posing much of a test for Tokuyama here.
Yet another show with an Asian fighter in action is being held in Quebec, where fast rising Kazakh prospect Sadriddin Akhmedov (10-0, 9) takes on rugged Argentinian Jose Antonio Villalobos (12-5-2, 7). Akhmedov missed quite a bit of this year, whilst he recovered from injury and got married, but has still been busier than most and has began answering more and more questions, proving his stamina, his ability to box and move and that he can box on the back foot. There are still areas for him to work on, but for a 21 year old kid his incredibly impressive and a win here is seen as a formality before a potentially huge 2020. Villalobos will be there to try and ask questions of Akhmedov but we really don't see this as anything but an easy win for the talented Kazakh.
Diriyah, Saudi Arabia
On a show that features more morally objectionable content that we can remember for a boxing card, including 4 fighters who have failed drug tests and the show taking place in a country with a terrible history human rights, we'll see Azeri fighter Mahammadrasul Majidov (1-0, 1) take on Tom Little (10-7, 3).
Metro Manila, Philippines
The biggest show this coming Saturday is in the Philippines, where we get a world title fight and a world title eliminator.
The world title fight is a rare all-Filipino title bout, as the unbeaten Samuel Salva (17-0, 10) takes on Pedro Taduran (13-2, 10) for the IBF Minimumweight title. Salva was originally expected to face Deejay Kriel for the title, before Kriel chose to vacate setting up this all Filipino title bout which looks like it could be a very interesting match up. The unbeaten is a 22 year old who is getting his first shot at the big time, and has lived up to his name of being the "Silent Assassin" pretty well whilst climbing up the rankings without making too much noise. Taduran on the other hand will be getting his second world title fight, after running Wanheng Menayothin close in a WBC world title fight last year. This isn't going to get a lot of attention, but should be a lot more interesting than some of the other all-Filipino world title bouts we've had recently. A full preview of this bout is available here Salva and Taduran face off for IBF title
In another notable bout on this card the once beaten Giemel Magramo (23-1, 19) will take on Thailand's Eaktwan BTU Ruaviking (25-5,16) in an IBF Flyweight world title eliminator. For both men this is a huge opportunity to set up a big fight down the line, and a shot at Moruti Mthalane, whilst from a fans point of view this could be some truly fantastic. The 24 year old Magramo has reeled off 6 straight wins since a close loss to Muhammad Waseem in 2016 and looks to be on an excellent run of form with notable wins against the likes of Petchchorhae Kokietgym and Wenfeng Ge. The Thai on the other hand is looking to notch his 4th straight win, and secure his second world title bout, though he failed to shine in bouts away from Thailand, with just a single win on the road. Style wise this should be a war, and it could easily end up being an instant classic. A preview of this bout can be read here Magramo and Nantapech set for Flyweight eliminator thriller!
Davao del Sur, Philippines
A second Filipino card this Saturday will be a much lower profile one in Davao del Sur, and will feature a number of unbeaten fighters, mostly in bouts that look stacked in their favour.
The main event of the card will see the unbeaten Jenel Lausa (9-0-1, 5) take on Indonesian foe Carlos Lopez (28-9, 9) in a fight for a minor title. On paper this looks like a big step up for the 31 year old Lausa, however Lopez has been out of the ring since March 2013. Interestingly Lopez was pencilled in to fight Billy Dib a few months ago, before Dib fought Amir Khan, so he should be in good condition, but will likely be an under-dog here.
In an interesting supporting bout the unbeaten Richard Bulacan (6-0, 4) will battle against Vergel Deguma (9-5, 4), in a battle of young southpaws. Bulacan has shown some real promise at this early stage but this should still be a solid test for the 20 year old.
The second Teiken card of the month is a much higher profile one than their first, and features not only a Japanese title fight but also a former 3 weight world champion and some notable prospects, in what looks like a very solid card.
The main event of the show will see Japanese Welterweight champion Yuki Nagano (16-2, 12) make his first defense as he battle against Makoto Kawasaki (11-7-1, 2). Nagano won the title back in April, when he stopped Ryota Yada and recorded a 14th straight win. The 30 year old, who went 2-2 in his first 4 has been in great form and beaten really good domestic fighters in recent years. At 35 years old Kawasaki is likely to be getting his last chance to win a title, but he will enter as a very clear under-dog, and will need a career best performance to over-come Nagano. Our preview of this bout is here Nagano to defend Japanese title against Kawasaki
Former multi-weight world champion Jorge Linares (45-5, 28) fights in the chief support bout of the card. The former 3 weight world champion has lost 2 of his last 3, by stoppage, but is still incredibly popular, especially in Japan, where he hasn't fought in over 4 years. Linares will be up against Filipino foe Al Toyogon (10-4-1, 6), who has lost his last 2, but will be looking to bounce back from those losses, and show what he can do in the biggest profile bout of his career.
Another notable name on this card is Welterweight hopeful Ryota Toyoshima (11-2-1, 8), who will be be seeking a 5th straight win as he takes on Masafumi Ando (6-8-2, 3). The in form Toyoshima will be the favourite, and will be looking to build on wins over the likes of Moon Hyon Yun and Woo Min Won, however Ando did score a big win last time out against former Japanese national champion Toshio Arikawa. This could be a lot more interesting than it looks on paper.
The lower end of the card here is pretty interesting as well. In a really interesting look bout the 2018 Rookie of the Year runner up Hikari Mineta (6-1, 3) takes on Yuji Oba (6-4, 4), in what looks like a good test for Mineta, Rookie of the year winner Kenta Endo (4-0-1, 3) battles Korean foe Gi Won Shin (3-2-3) and the debuting Katsuya Fukui (0-0) faces off with Sang Hoon Kim (4-1-2, 3).
Jeju, South Korea
Talking about Korean fighters it's worth noting there will be a Korean card as well, albeit at a very low level, with an international theme as locals take on a mix of Japanese and Chinese opponents.
The most notable bout on this card will see unbeaten Korean teenager Min Jang (8-0-2, 2) take on Japanese visitor Wataru Ikegami (7-4-1, 4). The talent Jang should be took good for Ikegami, who's lost to Fumiya Fuse and Tsubasa Murachi in recent bouts, but it is still a step up in class for the Korean youngster.
Another Korean Vs Japan bout on this card will see 21 year old Korean local Yong In Jo (7-3-2, 2) take on Japanese veteran Yuichi Ideta (13-14-1, 7). This will be Jo's first bout since a November 2017 loss to Daishi Nagata whilst IDeta will be looking to end a 10 fight losing streak.
Paju, South Korea
A second Korean card will take place in Paju and, on paper at least, it is a more notable card.
One of the most notable bout on this card will see In Duck Seo (12-1-2, 7) attempt to build on his KO win against Tysinn Best, as he faces off with Uzbek foe Khusniddin Pulatov (7-3, 5) in a contest for the WBA Asia Welterweight title. This could be a very explosive and action packed fight between two relatively limited, but fun to watch fighters, who will both believe in their toughness and power.
In a female bout we'll see Bo Mi Re Shin (7-0-3, 3) take on Jinyan Gao (2-0) in a battle of unbeaten fighters. According to the KBA this will actually be the show's main event, though in reality this bout is less significant, and less interesting, than the co-feature bout.
In Thailand we have a small, yet very notable, card featuring two bouts worthy of some attention.
The more significant of the two bouts will be a Light Middleweight bout between former world title contender Teerachai Kratingdaenggym (41-1, 30) taking on Filipino southpaw Junjesie Ibgos (13-4, 11), in a bout for the WBA Asia title at 154lbs. Teerachai is riding a 3 fight winning run since losing to Lucas Matthysse in 2018 and will be strongly favoured here against Ibgos, who fought as a Featherweight earlier in his career.
The other bout is less significant, but arguably more intriguing. This bout will see novice professional Theeraphan Polsongkarm (1-0) take on former world title challenger Inthanon Sithchamuang (31-12-1, 19), in a 10 round bout. We often see Thai's being fast tracked but this is a huge step up for Theeraphan, and a win here would be a huge statement, even if Inthanon is a long, long, way from being the fighter who went 12 rounds with Kohei Kono back in 2016.
We get yet another Asian show, with one taking place in Singapore.
The main event here is a really, really good looking one, with Ongen Saknosiwi (6-0, 6) taking on Nanthawat Maolichat (6-0, 6) for the WBC Asian Boxing Council Continental Featherweight title. Saknosiwi is the IBPC champion and is regarded as a real hopeful for Indonesian boxing, though this will be his first bout outside of Indonesia and should be seen as a credible test. Nanthawat is a Thai teenager who debuted in November, and will be taking a big step up in class himself, in what will be his first title fight. This looks like it could be very, very explosive.
As well as the good looking main event this card will also feature local hopefuls Hamzah Farouk (8-0, 5) and Abdelelah Karroum (5-0, 4), who will both be taking on limited Indonesian visitors.
In Russia we get a small card, though a card with an excellent all-Asian main event. The match up will see unbeaten Uzbek fighter Ravshanbek Umurzakov (9-0, 7) take on the upset minded Roldan Aldea (14-7-1, 8), from the Philippines. Umurzakov has shown touches of real promise, and is clearly a prospect to make a note of, but there is a lot of questions for him to still answer. On the other hand Aldea will be looking to build on July's upset win over Mikhail Alexeev, a win that came thanks to a huge KO over the previously unbeaten Russian.
Macao S.A.R., China
The biggest Asian show this coming Saturday comes from Macao, where we get several bouts of note thanks to the IBF, who are holding a convention and having boxing take place around that event.
On paper the best bout is an all-south Light Heavyweight clash between Fanlong Meng (14-0, 9) and Adam Deines (17-0-1, 8), who battle in what is an IBF final world title eliminator. Unbeaten fighters, with ambition, clashing is always a good thing, and whilst neither will be given a chance against IBF world champion Artur Beterbiev this should still be a worth while clash. With a world title fight up for grabs for the winner this is a really important contest, and potentially the hidden gem of the weekend.
Another unbeaten fighter on this card is Australian Steve Gago (10-0, 4), who takes on criminally under-rated Filipino Adam Diu Abdulhamid (14-7, 6), in what should be a much, much tougher test than it appears on paper. Although Abdulhamid has 7 losses to his name he is a very talented fighter and a real potential banana skin for the unbeaten Gago.
A third bout will see China's Sen Chen (11-1, 2) battle against Filipino veteran Richie Mepranum (33-7-1, 9), for a minor regional title. This is a big step up for Chen, but a win would help him out his name out there. At his best Mepranum is a solid fighter, but in recent years he has just been picking up more losses than wins, and has lost 3 of his last 5. A good test for Chen, but it should be a winnable one.
From the Korakuen Hall we'll get the next Dynamic Glove card, and unfortunately it won't be shown live, and instead it's going to be put on tape delay the following Wednesday.
The main event of the card was supposed to be the first defense of the Japanese Flyweight title by Junto Nakatani (18-0, 13), who was pencilled in to face Wolf Nakano (6-7-4, 2). That was a disappointing bout and was cancelled when Nakano suffered an injury in training, and he has now been replaced by Filipino foe Philip Luis Cuerdo (11-6-1, 4). On paper this is a better bout than the original match up, but should be little more than the next step forward for Nakatani, who is looking like one of the brightest prospects in Japan.
On paper the bout of the show looks likely to be the rematch between Charles Bellamy (28-3-2, 18) and Yuto Shimizu (12-4-2, 5), who had a cracking bout last September. The Bellamy, a popular Japanese based American, took a narrow win over Shimizu last year, and will be favoured here. Shimizu however is no push over, as he showed in their first bout, and this could be a very, very good bout.
Another really good looking match up here will see Japan's Ryota Toyoshima (10-2-1, 7) look to build on a big 208 as he takes on Korean visitor Woo Min Won (10-1, 6). Toyoshima went 3-0 (2) last year, with a very notable win over Moon Hyun Yun, and will be looking to continue that run here. The Korean fight will be fighting on Japanese soil for the second time, having beaten Daiki Koide in Nagoya in 2016. Interestingly this will be Kim's 4th straight bout against a Japanese foe, and so far he has a 3-0 (2) record against Japanese fighters.
Hard hitting Minimumweight prospect Kai Ishizawa (5-0, 5) might not be one of the most rounded prospects in Japan but he is a very heavy handed fighter with a lot of promise, and he's very, very young. On this show he will take on Indonesian journeyman Silem Serang (13-19-2, 1), in what should be little more than a show case for the very exciting Ishizawa.
One other bout of note will see Rookie of the Year runner up Hikari Mineta (5-1, 3) kick off his 2019 with a bout against 32 year old Motosuke Kimura (3-1-2, 1). We were impressed by Mineta in the Rookie of the Year, though he did have a nightmare in the early stages of the final, and it's going to be great to see what the Teiken man can go on to achieve over the coming years.
On the subject of Japanese fighters it's worth noting that Swiss based Japanese born veteran Aniya Seki (34-4-3, 5) will be up against journey woman Ivanka Ivanova (1-10-2) in Berne. Seki, now aged 40, is unlikely to achieve her dream of becoming a world champion, but she should pick up an easy win here against her Bulgarian foe who hasn't won in her last 9.
We turn to the US for much more notable action towards the end of the day, with a number of Filipino fighters in action.
Sadly whilst there are some talented fighters on the card, the most notable of the Filipino fighters looks to be, on paper at least, in a stay busy fight. That is former WBO Bantamweight champion Marlon Tapales (32-2, 15), the criminally under-rated southpaw, taking on Mexican foe Roberto Castaneda (23-11-2, 16). On paper this is a mismatch, though Castaneda has had some interesting performances in recent years coming close to upsetting Jose Lopez in 2014 and securing a draw Tyler McCreary last time out.
Another highly regarded Filipino on this card is the hard hitting Jhack Tepora (22-0, 17), who returns to the ring following a weight mishap earlier in the year. He'll be up against fellow puncher Jose Luis Gallegos (16-6, 12) and should manage to secure a pretty straight forward win, though has clearly lost some of his career moment after a huge 2018.
Filipino-America John Leo Dato (10-0-1, 7) looks to extend his unbeaten record, as he takes on tough veteran German Meraz (62-55-2, 39). The Mexican veteran has 120 bouts to his name, and although his losses are stacking up he has only 8 stoppage defeats with the latest coming more than 2 years ago to Tugstsogt Nyambayar. Meraz will test Dato, but isn't likely to score the upset.