United States Military Academy, West Point, New York, USA
Over in the US this coming Thursday is the next in Ring City USA shows, and it's a really good one overall, with several really interesting match ups on it, as we're becoming accustomed to with the series. For us however the focus isn't on the main bouts but instead two of the lesser bouts, which feature central Asian hopefuls.
The more notable of the two bouts featuring a Central Asian prospect will see unbeaten Kazakh Welterweight Bobirzhan Mominov (12-0, 8) take on the once beaten Angel Ruiz (16-1, 12) in a very, very good looking 8 rounder. The 29 year old Mominov has been a professional since 2016, but has treat water for a while, with his most notable career achievement being as a sparring partner for Saul "Canelo" Alvarez. Although he's yet to score a break out win there is no doubting his talent, but he does need to prove it. At 23 years old Ruiz is much younger than Mominov, but even less proven and in his last bout, back in October 2019, he was stopped in 2 rounds buy Javier Flores. On paper this is a big step up Ruiz, and it may be too much, too soon, given the lengthy lay off.
The other central Asian fighter on this show is talented Uzbek Hurshidbek Normatov (10-0, 3), who will be looking for his 11th straight win as he takes on Jose Carlos Rivera (8-4-1, 5). The awkward, tall and rangy Normatov is a 29 year old southpaw, who hasn't had much buzz, despite being an unbeaten Uzbek with a strong amateur background and WSB experience, including a win over Anthony Fowler. An exciting performance here could help generate some attention for him, but a win over Rivera by it's self won't mean much. Rivera has been a professional since 2016 and although his record looks poor he has been matched hard and has been working as a good test for prospects. He will however need a career best performance here if he's to be a real test for the skilled Uzbek.
For the second time this month we head to the Korakuen Hall for a tournament final, and this time around we also have a lot of title action on the show, with the "God's Left" Bantamweight final coming on a show that also features 3 title fights, including a female world title fight!
The tournament final will see unbeaten Ohashi gym hopeful Kazuki Nakajima (8-0, 7) take on Kadoebi gym hopeful Seiya Tsutsumi (5-0, 4) in a very, very, explosive looking God's Left Bantamweight tournament final. Tsutsumi, who was the only seed in the tournament, has gotten through to the final with out fighting in a single bout, getting a bye in the quarter final stage then a walk over in his semi-final. Nakajima on the other hand has blitzed Kenichi Watanabe and Jin Minamide to reach the final, beating both men inside a round. Both of these fighters can bang, and we expect this to be fireworks almost from the off.
The female world title bout will see Ayaka Miyao (23-8-1, 6) take on Etsuko Tada (19-3-2, 6) for the vacant WBO female Minimumweight title. For Miyao this bout will see her moving up in weight, abandoning the Atomweight division that she has been such a major force in over the years, whilst Tada will be looking to become a 4-time world champion. Given the styles of the two women involved in this one we expect fireworks, as both like to let their hands go. Tada is certainly the bigger, stronger fighter but she's also the older slower fighter, whilst Miyao is faster and more energetic. A very, very interesting match up. Our preview of this can be read here Veterans Tada and Miyao face off for WBO title!
Another title fight on this show will see second generation fighter Kaiki Yuba (6-0-2, 4) take on Kanta Takenaka (7-4-1, 2) for the vacant JBC Youth Lightweight title. For the unbeaten Yuba this is a second shot at the title, following a technical draw when he fought Izuki Tomioka for the belt almost 2 years ago, whilst Takenaka will be looking to build on his win over Kazuaki Miyamoto from last April. This bout has an in depth preview here Yuba and Takenaka clash for Japanese youth title!
The other title bout on this card is actually a rematch, as Kanako Taniyama (2-0-1, 1) and Tomoko Okuda (5-2-2, 1) battle for the vacant JBC female Bantamweight title. These two women fought to a draw last September, in what was a genuinely entertaining bout, though it felt like Taniyama deserved the win but didn't get it in Okuda's home city. We can't help but think Taniyama will take the win here, in another entertaining battle. Our preview of this bout is here Taniyama and Okuda face off again for Japanese female title!
Over in Canada unbeaten Uzbek Hurshidbek Normatov (9-0, 3) is scheduled to be in action in a 6 round bout, though his opponent has yet to be named. This will be the unbeaten Uzbek's first professional bout outside of the US, and will see him look to build on what has been a pretty slow build career thus far.
In Connecticut we're expecting to see two Uzbek hopefuls this coming Thursday, though sadly never man has had his opponent named at the time of writing.
One of those is 23 year old Fazliddin Meliboev (0-0), who was a well travelled and experienced amateur fighter. Meliboev has experience in the WBS, has fought to a high level in the amateurs and should have pretty high expectations on his shoulders. Interestingly in the WSB he beat Russian fighter Zaur Abdullaev, who is getting a world title eliminator later this year. He'll be debuting against once beaten American Marcus Washington (4-1, 1). On paper Washington is riding a 4 fight winning streak and is more than 3 years removed from his last loss, but on the other hand he's not fought in almost 2 years and is 36 years old.
The other Uzbek on this card is Hurshidbek Normatov (8-0, 3), who looks set to move into 8 round bouts. The 27 year old has promised quite a bit since his debut more than 3 years ago, but he's yet to be tested in the professional ranks, and hopefully that will change in the near future. He's talented, awkward and could go a long way. Here he will be up against veteran American Walter Wright (17-6, 8). Wright was once a pretty decent fighter and took part in the Contender way back in 2006, but that was more than a decade ago and he's now 38 and a long, long way removed from the fighter he once was. If Normatov is as good as we think he should take a clear decision here.
New York, USA
This coming Wednesday we'll see a pair of promising and unbeaten Uzbeks in action in New York.
One of the Uzbek's is rising Heavyweight prospect Bakhodir Jalolov (5-0, 5), who takes a big step up in class to take on 35 year old American foe Donnie Palmer (10-2-1, 9). The 24 year old Jalolov has stopped his first 5 opponents in a combined 11 rounds but will be hoping to get some rounds under his belt here. It is worth noting however that Joe Joyce stopped Palmer inside a round just over a year ago and it wouldn't be a massive surprise if Jalolov took him out in a similar fashion. On paper Palmer looks like a step up for Jalolov, though it should be noted that Palmer has got a padded record.
The other Uzbek on this card is 26 year old Light Middleweight Hurshidbek Normatov (7-0, 3), who takes on Calvin Metcalf (9-1-1, 2). The talented Normatov notched two wins last year, and although not as impressive as Jalolov has been he is still tipped for big things. This is a step up for the Uzbek, though Metcalf has only won 3 of his last 5, including a draw last time out to novice Ethan Cooper.
Bang Phun, Thailand
The main card this coming Saturday is in Thailand, with Workpoint showing casing a hugely popular world champion, albeit in a non-title fight, and two former world title challenger.
The world champion in action is Thai superstar Srisaket Sor Rungvisai (45-4-1, 40), who won't be defending the WBC Super Flyweight title, as he takes on Korean foe Young Gil Bae (28-6-2, 22), but will be fighting in front of a Thai crowd for the first time since December 2016. Sriskaet is expected to see off Bae with ease, especially given that Bae came up very short in a WBC Minimumweight title bout against Wanheng Menayothin. This really should be little more than a showcase for Srisaket who has another bout set for October 6th in Pak Kret as part of a ONE Championship card.
A second bout of note on this card will see former WBC Flyweight title challenger Nawaphon Kaikanha (41-1, 33) take on Japanese visitor Shota Kawaguchi (21-10-1, 9) in a bout for the WBC Asian Boxing Council Bantamweight title. Nawaphoin is best known for his 2017 loss to Juan Hernandez for the WBC Flyweight title, but he has since bounced back with 5 straight wins, all by stoppage, including a thrilling win over Amnat Ruenroeng back in April. As for Kawaguchi he has struggled in recent bouts, going 3-5 in his last 8, and suffered losses to the likes of Sonny Boy Jaro, Rene Dacquel and Ryuichi Funai. Given the form of the Japanese fighter it's hard to see him coming out on top here, even if Nawaphon hasn't always impressed.
A card in Hyogo is also worth noting due to the main event, which will see WBC Youth Super Bantamweight champion Tenta Kiyose (14-2-1, 6) facing off with former WBC Minimumweight champion Oleydong Sithsamerchai (68-1-1, 28). The Thai is currently riding a 33 fight winning run since losing the WBC world title to Kazuto Ioka back in February 2011, but has mostly fought limited opponents, with his best wins during that run coming over the likes of Mark Anthony Geraldo, Jason Canoy and Hiroyuki Kudaka, all of which were years ago. The 21 year old Kiyose is stepping up in a huge way, but a win here could help put him on the boxing map and move him into the world rankings.
Sadly the main event aside this card is really not worthy of a mention.
There's also a card in the Philippines. Sadly this is a card that features two talented Filipino's facing very limited Indonesian visitors.
One of the local men is Ernesto Saulong (21-3-1, 8), who will be returning to the ring for the first time his loss to IBF Super Bantamweight champion Ryosuke Iwasa back in March. The talented, and tough, Filipino will be going up again journey Waldo Sabu (12-12, 2), who has lost his last 2 by stoppage and was taken out inside a round by Takuma Inoue in May. Given recent outings it's hard to see anything but a Saulong win, likely inside the distance.
The other bout will see former OPBF champion Al Rivera (19-3, 17) take on Heri Andriyanto (23-26-2, 11). Rivera has been out of the ring since last October, when he stopped Rodel Wenceslao, but we don't expect the ring rust to be a problem here s he takes on a man was was banned from fighting in Japan back in 2016, when he give a poor effort against Koki Inoue. Since the loss to Inoue Andriyanto has gone 1-3 and it's hard to see what he has to test the very hard hitting Rivera.
In the US fans will be able to see promising Uzbek hopeful Hurshidbek Normatov (6-0, 2) risk his unbeaten record against fellow unbeaten Alexis Gaytan (4-0, 2). The Uzbek fighter hasn't set the world on fire yet, but has looked competent against decent opponents, beating the much more experienced Ronald Montes last time out. Interestingly Gaytan will be up against his 3rd successive unbeaten opponent here, and will have the confidence of an upset win over Kendrick Ball Jr as he comes into this fight. We suspect Normatov will be too good, but we do hope to see him answering some new questions here.