Pak Kret, Thailand
The main action this coming Saturday is from Thailand of all places, as ONE Championship put on a card that will feature a major boxing world title fight.
That bout will see WBC Super Flyweight champion Srisaket Sor Rungvisai (46-4-1, 41) defending his belt against Mexican challenger Iran Diaz (14-2-3, 6). The champion, who is now a sporting hero in Thailand, will be making his third defense of the title that he won in March 2017 when he upset Roman Gonzalez. Since then he has beaten Gonzalez in a second bout, Juan Franisco Estarada and fought a stay busy bout against Young Gil Bae, this is however a serious chance to impress on a show that isn't aimed specifically at a boxing audience. Diaz is taking a huge step up in class, though has scored notable wins over Hernan Marquez and Luis Concepcion. Sadly the Mexican has suffered notable stoppage losses and given Srisaket's power the odds are he will suffer another stoppage defeat here. A full preview of this bout can be read here - Srisaket and Diaz clash at Kingdom of Heroes
As well as the big show in Thailand there is also a notable card at the Korakuen Hall, including a title unification bout, a Japanese title eliminator and the debut of a stand out amateur fighter.
The title unification bout will see OPBF Super Featherweight champion Hironori Mishiro (6-0, 2) battle against Japanese champion Masaru Sueyoshi (18-1, 11) to unify those two titles. Of the two men it's Sueyoshi, the national champion, that has the more distinguished reign, having held his title since October 2017 and has already made a couple of defenses of the belt. Although a talented fighter Sueyoshi can be frustrating to watch and has a rather unique tempo in the ring. Mishiro on the other hand only won his regional title this past June, defeating Carlo Magali with a split decision. He knows he's up against a more experienced professional fighter, but did have a very accomplished amateur background. This could be the best bout of the day in terms of skills, even if the action probably won't be the most intense. A full preview this bout can be read here - Mishiro and Sueyoshi battle to unify crowns!
The chief support bout will see the unbeaten Junto Nakatani (16-0, 12) face off with recent OPBF title challenger Shun Kosaka (15-4, 4) with the winner getting a Japanese Flyweight title fight next year. Of the two Nakatani is clearly the favourite. He's a Rookie of the Year winner, a Japanese Youth Champion and a fighter who has broken into the world rankings. Kosaka on the other hand has come up short in most of his biggest bouts, with stoppage losses to Tetsuya Hisada and Jayr Raquinel, with the loss to Raquinel coming in an OPBF title bout. Given Nakatani's power we suspect Kosaka suffer his third stoppage defeat. A full preview of this bout can be read here - Nakatani and Kosaka fight for the right to challenge for Flyweight title!
This show will also feature the debut of of the very highly regarded Mikito Nakano (0-0), who ran up an excellent 75-9 in the amateurs and has been sparring with Hiroaki Teshigawara to prepare for his debut. The Japanese fighter will be taking on a relatively straight forward first assignment as he battles Thai foe Thanawat Yancharoen (1-3), in what should be a straight forward debut win for a genuine talent and a great addition to the Japanese professional ranks.
In the Philippines we get a card rescheduled from September 22nd, a pretty notable card taking place in Benguet.
The main event will see former OPBF title challenger Cris Paulino (18-3, 7) facing off with the upset minded Jomar Fajardo (16-11-2, 7) in a bout for the vacant WBC Asian Boxing Council Super. Flyweight title. Paulino has been stopped in all 3 of hos defeats, to Ardin Diale, Koki Eto and Vic Darchinyan, but is a very capable fighter who is riding a 4 fight winning run into this fight. “Wallopman” Fajardo is best known for his two fights with Francisco Rodriguez Jr, earning a draw in the first of those bouts. Despite being upset minded Fajardo is 1-7-1 in his last 9 and and a win here would be one of his very best.
A bout that should be better than the records of those involved suggests will see Ryan Rey Ponteras (22-13-2, 11) take on Cris Alfante (14-7-1, 6). Neither of these men are world beaters, by any stretch of the imagination, but they should make for a very good contest between each other. Ponteras, on his day, can hold his own with fringe OPBF level opponents but is very inconsistent and can end up losing to opponents he should be. Alfante is the naturally smaller man, but also the younger man, and the fighter who will be looking to build on recent wins over Reymark Taday and Roilo Golez. This could be a pretty interesting match up, if we get the best from both guys.
Also on this card is promising youngster Jayson Vayson (7-0, 4), who looks to continue his unbeaten start to professional boxing as he takes on Ronald Alapormina (3-2-1). We like the 20 year old Vayson, a lot, and are looking forward to seeing him let off the leash in the near future. On paper this isn't a step up in class, but it will be his first 10 round contest. As for Alapormina he has gone 0-2-1 in his last 3 and will be wanting to end that win-less run. We expect a win for Vayson, but do hope to see him getting tested in the near future.
There's another small card taking place in India, which has also been rescheduled from September 15th and feature a youth title bout.
The title bout will see unbeaten Indian Rajesh Kumar (9-0-1, 2) take on Bright Ayala (16-1, 11), with Kumar defending the WBC Youth Lightweight title for the first time. The unbeaten local won the title back in April, when he defeated Glenn Enterina, and will not be wanting to relinquish that title just 5 months after winning it. Ayala, from Ghana, hasn't fought anyone of real note though was beaten last time he faced an unbeaten opponent, losing a decision to Oluwaseun Joshua Wahab. This bout should let us know how good both men are, or aren't.
The lead supporting bout is a female contest which will see 20 year old local Kirti (4-1, 2) take on Kiwi visitor Cherneka Johnson (10-0, 5). Coming into this Kirti is looking to build on a big win over Noemi Bosques but she will be regarded as the underdog against the in-form Johnson, who has stopped 3 of her last 4.
Baja California, Mexico
Out side of Asia we have a number of notable bouts, including a very interesting contest in Mexico between Jason Canoy (27-8-2, 19) and Luis Nery (26-0, 20), who battle for the WBC Silver Bantamweight title. The rugged Canoy is best known for losing in his biggest fights, including a loss to a then debuting Hinata Maruta and a thrilling loss to Hiroaki Teshigawa, and is expected to come up short again here. However the Filipino is tough, heavy handed and has never been stopped, he will also know this is a massive opportunity. Nery on the other hand is known for being a controversial figure, who has two tainted wins over Shinsuke Yamanaka. Nery is talented, heavy handed and highly capable, though there are serious doubts as to whether he can make Bantamweight and he will always have dark clouds hanging over his head for the wins over Yamanaka.
Baja California, Mexico
Staying in Mexico there will also be a contest featuring Mark Magsayo (18-0, 13), though his opponent has yet to be named. This will be Magsayo's first bout of 2018, and his first contest since seemingly leaving ALA Promotions earlier this year. He's a talented fighter but the long break, change in management and the lack of named opponent will not serve him well as he continues looking to build towards a potential world title fight.
In Canada fans will be able to see Kazakh prospect Batyrzhan Jukembayev (13-0-0-2, 11) continue his rise as he faces off with Mexican southpaw Patricio Moreno (20-2, 14). This will be Jukembayev's third bout of the year and he is tipped to go on to big things, this however is a perfect step up in class with Moreno being a tough but limited opponent capable of genuinely testing Jukembayev. A really interesting and solid match up.
This coming Thursday Japanese fight fans will get the chance to see a really interesting double header at the Korakuen Hall.
One of those bouts will see Japanese Lightweight hopeful Shuichiro Yoshino (6-0, 4) make his first defense of the title as he takes on mandatory challenger Masaki Saito (14-12-6, 5) in the second Champion Carnival bout of 2018. The talented Yoshino has risen through the ranks at an impressive pace since debuting at the end of 2015 and despite only having 6 fights he has already beating veterans like Chaiyong Sithsaithong and Yoshitaka Kato as well as top domestic foes like Spicy Matsushita. Sadly Saito is a limited challenger, especially as a mandatory, and appears to have gotten a shot in part due to the lack of depth in the division. Although limited Saito is tough, having only been stopped once, back in 2006, and tall, at around 5'11”, and is more likely to ask questions of Yoshino rather than really test him.
Whilst the Japanese title bout looks likely to be a one-sided win for the champion the other title bout looks likely to be a thrilling war. That's because the all action Hiroaki Teshigawara (15-2-2, 9) will be defending his WBO Asia Pacific Bantamweight title against teak tough Filipino puncher Jason Canoy (27-7-2, 19). The champion first made a mark in 2015, fighting to a draw with Hideo Sakamoto and then made a name for himself in 2016 with a narrow loss to Ryo Akaho in one of the forgotten wars of the year. Last year we saw Teshigawara score a thrilling win over Keita Kurihara before stopping Jetro Pabustan to claim the regional title. As for Canoy he's a big punching tough guy, who has scored wins over the likes of Drian Francisco, Giovanni Escaner, Jestoni Autida and Renerio Arizala. To date Canoy tends to come up short against his best opponents, including a then debuting Hinata Maruta, but is always a tough out and should give us a war with Teshigawara, who is always up for a fire fight. This could be a very special fight.
One other fighter on this card of some note is Masataka Taniguchi (9-2, 7). The talented Watanabe gym fighter has lost 2 of his last 5, though they have both been razor thin losses to fellow talented youngsters, Reiya Konishi and Tsubasa Koura, and it'd be downright foolish to write the 24 year old off given the talent he has. We're unsure who he will be up against here, but we are aware it's a Filipino opponent and the odds are that Taniguchi will be moved towards another title fight later in the year.
Mandaue City, Philippines
The biggest show this coming Friday for us is in the Philippines, where we will see a nice mix of bouts, ranging from notable names to unbeaten prospects.
One of the biggest names on the card is the teak tough, and heavy handed, Jason Canoy (26-7-2, 19). Canoy, who was the debut opponent of Hinata Maruta, will be up against relatively notable domestic foe Renerio Arizala (13-7-2, 5) in what should be a straight forward win for Canoy. The talented Canoy was beaten last time out, losing a split decision in in South Africa to Mzuvukile Magwaca, but should have far too much for Arizala, who struggled in recent years and has scored just 1 win in his last 8 bouts.
In the only title bout on the card fans will be able to see Jhaleel Payao (15-1, 9) make his first defense of the PBF Bantamweight title, as he takes on the heavy handed Raul Yu (9-2-2, 8). The talented Payao has only been beaten by the very skilful Michael Dasmarinas, and since that loss has bounced back with 4 straight forward domestic wins, including his title winning effort back in March against Nelson Tinampay. The big punching Yu was beaten last time out, losing a wide decision to Jade Bornea, but should be viewed as a live challenger here, and he certainly has the edge in power here. This should be a really interesting match up, but we do see the champion retaining his title.
Another pretty decent match up on this card will see Kenny Demecillo (12-4-2, 7) take on domestic banana skin Gerpaul Valero (21-19-4, 15), in what could be a very tricky match up. On paper Demecillo will be the favourite, though he did lose his last bout, suffering a decision loss to Mark Anthony Geraldo, and Valero has scored notable upsets in the past.
Explosive youngster Tomjune Mangubat (7-0, 7) will be seeking to continue his impressive start as he battles against Crisanto Contemprato (6-3-1, 4) in an decent looking match up. The 20 year old Mangubat is being gradually stepped up, but has so far just been too powerful for everyone he's faced,scoring 7 T/KO's in just 11 combined rounds. The 25 year old Contemprato has only been stopped once in 10 bouts, and that was up at Super Featherweight, suggesting he can take a shot, which he'll need to do to over-come Mangubat.
Also on the under is a battle of unbeaten fighters as Rimon Rama (6-0-1, 4) takes on Richard Bulacan (3-0, 3) in a match up that looks likely to be explosive,a little bit wild and very exciting. Despite both men being novices this is scheduled for 8 rounds, and is 18 year old Rama's second bout scheduled for the distance.
In Canada we'll see touted Kazakh hopeful Batyrzhan Jukembayev (9-0-0-2, 8) take a huge step up in class as he faces off with once touted Panamanian Alberto Mosquera (24-3-2-2, 16). The Kazakh has been an exciting fighter so far, and looks like a very dangerous man with serious power, though has shown decent stamina with an 8 round decision win last year. It's worth noting that whilst Mosquera is a decent fighter he has been stopped in al 3 of his defeats and Jukembayev can certainly punch.
In the US fight fans will get the chance to see former Uzbek amateur star Rustam Tulaganov (0-0) make his professional debut. The talented 26 year old will be debuting in a 4 rounder, though the reality is that he could be fast tracked through the ranks and facing notable names before the end of 2018.
To end the month of March Japanese fans get a low key show at the Korakuen Hall.
The most notable of the bouts on this card will see the unbeaten Japanese ranked Super Featherweight Yuichiro Kasuya (9-0-1, 1) risking his unbeaten record against Japanese ranked Lightweight Spice Matsushita (16-9-1, 2), in a bout that will see Matsushita move down to 130lbs. The 20 year old Kasuya first made a name for himself in 2014, when he claimed the Rookie of the Year crown, and notched a really good win last year over Kazuma Sanpei. Last time out however he was held to a really unexpected draw against Masaki Saito. Although Matsushita has picked up losses through his career, including on last time out to Can Xu, he is still a solid fighter and could be a real banana skin for the unbeaten youngster.
The main event of the card will see former Japanese Bantamweight title challenger Tatsuya Takahashi (25-6-5, 18) take on Thai visitor Rungpetch Saithonggym (0-2). Although he drew earlier this year with Yuta Saito it's fair to say that Takahashi is best known for his 2014 loss to Kentaro Masuda. Since then he has gone 7-0-2 (5) and tried to work his way into another title fight. A win here won't get him a shot out right, but will keep him in the mix and see him continue his unbeaten run. As for the Thai he suffered 2 losses in Japan last year, and we suspect he'll suffer a third successive loss in the country here.
Western Cape, South Africa
In South Africa we'll see local unbeaten fighter Mzuvukile Magwaca (17-0-2, 10) battle with tough Filipino Jason Canoy (26-6-2, 19) in a bout for the WBF Bantamweight title. The unbeaten Magwaca has won his last 4 bouts, following a 2013 draw with Makazole Tete, including a stoppage over Filipino Michael Enriquez. This is a step for the local fighter and Canoy is certainly no push over, as shown in his wins over Drian Francisco and Jestoni Autida, but he is perhaps best known for his 2015 loss to a then debuting Hinata Maruta. Although he lost to Maruta he did prove he was ridiculously tough and we know he has nasty power of his own. This could be a very good match up
The best of 5 Japanese shows this Sunday is from Osaka where we get arguably the toughest debut in recent years as well as an OPBF title fight and a bout that looks to be a tune up bout for a title fight in 2016.
That debut bout is the long awaited debut of teenager Hinata Maruta (0-0). The very highly touted youngster goes up against the world ranked Jason Canoy (24-5-2, 18), who is heavy handed and has never been stopped. Maruta is dubbed “The #1 Hope” and has received a lot of attention in Japan but there is a good chance that he has bit off more than he can chew here against Canoy, who is best known for stopping Drian Francisco in just 132 seconds. This is a baptism of fire but if Maruta wins then he'll have immediately made a statement of the highest order.
Whilst the Maruta/Canoy bout is the most exciting it's not actually the main event. That's an OPBF Light Middleweight title fight between the tough Dennis Laurente (49-6-5, 30), the defending champion, and former Japanese champion Takayuki Hosokawa (27-10-4, 9). This is a really intriguing bout even though the champion is 38 and best known for suffering a shut out loss to John Jackson on a PBC show. Laurente will be hoping to record the first defense of his title whilst Hosokoawa will likely be looking to close his career on a high, with rumours swirling that he'll retire win or lose here, due to issues with his eye.
The tune up bout sees former OPBF Super Featherweight champion Masao Nakamura (20-3, 19) battle against Thailand's Daorung Sithsoei (0-6), who's record is believed to be very incomplete. Nakamura has made it known that he wants a Japanese title fight and could well be looking at the winner of the upcoming Rikkie Naito/Kenichi Ogawa fight as his target for 2016. Coming into this one Nakamura is looking to build on his sensational win against Daiki Kaneko, in what is still a front runner for the Japanese FOTY.
Also on this card will be Korean hopeful Tae Il Kim (5-0, 1). Kim, who will be fighting under the name Teiru Atsumi, will be making his Japanese debut against Songkramchai Ektinakorn (0-1) and be fighting for the first time in 21 months, despite the lay off he is expected to shine in what is hoped to be a very promising career.
The second most notable show in Japan comes from Kumamoto where we get a weak card with a notable main event.
That main event is a Japanese Minimumweight title fight between Tatsuya Fukuhara (15-4-5, 6) and Hiroya Yamamoto (9-3, 3). The two men are fighting for a title that was recently vacated by Go Odaira and although neither are big names both men have faced solid fighters, with Fukuhara having mixed with Takuma Inoue and Fahlan Sakkreerin Jr whilst Yamamoto has faced Odaira and Xiong Zhao Zhong. It's fair to say neither man is expected to move on to being a true world champion but we suspect the winner will compete in a world title fight somewhere down the line.
The first of two shows at the Shinjuku FACE is a small card put on reason and will be headlined by a couple of 8 round bouts.
One of those 8 rounders will see Japanese and OPBF ranked Featherweight hopeful Ryuto Araya (8-3-1, 1) battle Takuya Yamaguchi (9-9, 7). Although not the best fighter Araya is ranked due to his most recent bout, a win over Kazunori Takayama, and he has shown issues in other bouts, including a 2nd round TKO loss to Daisuke Watanabe. Yamaguchi on the other hand is fighting for the second after a long lay off, which began when he went 1-4 including a loss to Shingo Wake. On paper this is a mismatch though we suspect it could actually be very competitive.
The other will see Japanese ranked Keita Nakano (13-10, 4) put his Bantamweight ranking on the line against Keigo Soma (7-11-1, 4). On paper this looks a more competitive match up than the other bout and could well be the show stealing bout, despite the less than stellar records of the men involved.
The second show at the Shinjuku FACE features just one a single 8 rounder as Minoru Matsuo (6-4, 3) battles Chikashi Hayashizaki (6-5-1, 2) in what looks like a competitive lower level bout.
Whilst the main event is an 8 rounder we're more interested in a 6 rounder which will see veteran Keita Manabe (26-6-1, 22) battle against novice Yuya Shimakura (5-1-1, 2). Manabe, a former Japanese title challenger, will be fighting for the first time in more than 6 years and although on paper he should be favoured he has scored a win since 2007! Shimakura on the other hand has shown potential and the 20 year old could become someone to keep an eye on.
Another minor show comes from Aichi and features a pair of headlining 8 rounders.
The most notable of those sees Japanese ranked 140lb'der Shinichi Tsukahara (10-7-3, 5) battling against Yuta Maruoka (9-3, 4). Coming into this one Tsukahara has won his last two bouts but has been stopped in 4 of his losses and at 31 it's a time where any loss could cost him a potential title shot. Maruoka however should be a safe opponent, and he's winless in almost 4 years.
The other 8 rounder will see Minimumweight hopeful Jun Takigawa (7-1, 4) take on Takeshi Sone (5-3-3, 1). Takigawa should be heavily favoured here and he did have an excellent 2014, which saw him narrowly lose in the All Rookie final to Reiya Konishi. Sone's recent form has seen him go 0-1-2 though he has faced decent competition.
May 30th-Kosei Tanaka and Melindo go for gold, Pinoy's get domestic show and even India get in on the action!
This Saturday is one of the busiest and possibly most memorable days this year for boxing fans around the globe. For us it's a day that feature two major world title bouts and a lot, lot more besides.
The big show of the day, for us at least, comes from Japan where an impressive record is under threat and we may well be able to crown the next Japanese sensation.
That potential sensation is the incredibly talented 19 year Kosei Tanaka (4-0, 2) who looks to claim the WBO Minimumweight title in just his 5th professional bout. In the opposite corner to Tanaka will be once beaten Mexican fighter Julian Yedras (24-1, 13), a decent contender though a man who is seen as being “up against it” here against a potential superstar in the making. Tanaka has been nothing but sensational thus far into his career and a win here would see him setting a Japanese national record for fewest bouts to a world title. A loss would be a serious set back but given his age Tanaka would bounce back.
In the chief support bout fans will see unbeaten OPBF and Japanese ranked contender Yushi Tanaka (13-0-3, 9) battle against the brave but limited Mako Matsuyama (7-8-2, 3). Tanaka is slowly working towards a title bout and should come out on top here, though we're unsure just how good he is, or how good he could become. As for Matsuyama we'll never forget his amazingly brave effort against Rex Tso last year and we hope for a similarly exciting bout here, though we're next expecting one even near to the same level.
Another supporting bout will see the experienced Shota Hayashi (24-5-1, 15) battle against Yasuyuki Otagaki (5-3-3, 1) in what looks to be a stay busy fight for Hayashi, who hasn't fought this year. Hayashi is ranked by both the OPBF and JBC and this bout seems to be more about shaking off ring rust than anything else.
As well as the 3 bouts mentioned this card is scheduled to feature 4 undercard bouts as well.
The second world title fight of the day involving and Asian fighter we'll see Milan Melindo (32-1, 12) challenge hard hitting IBF Light Flyweight champion Javier Mendoza (23-2-1, 19). This is a really tough test for Melindo though he has been up against it in the past and managed to acquit himself well in his only other bout at this level, losing a competitive decision to Flyweight champion Juan Francisco Estrada. For Mendoza this will be the first defense of the title that he won last year, in a really engaging brawl with Ramon Garcia Hirales, and he won't be wanting to give that title up. We really expect that this one could be something a little bit special
Staying in Mexico fans will see Filipino fighter Vergel Nebran (13-8-1, 8) take on former world champion Cristian Mijares (51-8-2, 25). Mijares, once one of the best pure boxers on the planet, is several years removed from his best however he should still be too good, too quick and too skilled for the 25 year old Filipino who has gone 3-5 in his last 8 and is 0-5 outside of the Philippines.
Davao del Norte, Philippines
Having mentioned a few Filipinos in international action it makes sense to look at what's going on in the Philippines with an interesting looking card coming from General Santos City.
The main event here will see Adones Cabalquinto (19-0, 12) defend his Filipino national title against Jonel Gadapan (9-7-2, 5) in what appears to be a complete mismatch in favour of the champion. We do like Cabalquinto but really cannot understand why he's still toiling around at this level rather than being pushed upwards and onwards towards an OPBF title fight.
Another notable fighter in action here will be the sensationally talented Jerwin Ancajas (22-1-1, 14) who is fighting a stay busy fight against Juan Purisima (11-7-1, 4). Ancjas has looked brilliant recently and we're hoping to see him fighting at a higher level than this shortly though he has been out of the ring since last November, when he blitzed Fadhili Majiha in Macau. Hopefully a quick win here will allow the “Pretty Boy” to return to action sooner rather than later.
Another fighter on this show who has been showcased in Macau is Aston Palicte (17-1, 15). The heavy handed Palicte made an impressive statement when he stopped Ismael Garnica and will be hunting his 8th straight stoppage here as he battles Michael Escobia (10-9-1, 2). Interestingly Escobia has gone the distance with some good fighters, including Froilan Saludar and Masaaki Serie, though he has been stopped thrice.
One final name of note on this show will be Drian Francisco (27-2-1, 21) who will be in a genuinely interesting looking match up against Jason Canoy (23-5-2, 17). On paper this is, easily, the stand out bout and although Francisco is more experienced, at least at a higher level, we're not expecting him to just have a walk in the park here. Brilliant match up.
Dongducheon, South Korea
There is also a card in South Korea, sanctioned by the KBC.
This card is certainly not a big one and only features novices though it may still be an interesting card.
From what we understand there is no notable name in action as much of the card is focused on debutants. Despite that there should be some good action, including a Welterweight bout between Woo Min Kim (1-0) and Won Suk Lee (0-0-1) who are both risking their unbeaten records.
New Dehli, India
The most peculiar card of the day comes from New Dehli in India as Brazilian promoter Mike Miranda puts on what is believes to be the first professional boxing show in India since 1952.
The card, despite it's historic status, is a weak looking one with the main event being a 12 round bout between Neeraj Goyat (2-2-2) and Nelson Gulpe (8-4, 3) for the lightly regarded WBC Asian Boxing Council Welterweight title. We're not sure what either fighter has done to deserve a title fight but the belt does add some allure to the card.
The only other notable fighter in action here is Gurlal Singh (6-0, 6) who fights against Vikas Hooda (0-0). Singh has been based in Thailand fighting under the guidance of South Korean promoter Andy Kim and he'll be hoping to carry on his run in the country of his birth.
In Texas fans will see Filipino veteran Juanito Rubillar (49-22-7, 24) battle against former world champion Joseph Agbeko (29-5, 22). The 38 year old Rubillar has seen much better days, in fact he's not fought in more than 18 months and not scored a win in more than 2 years, in fact you need to go back to 2009 to find his second most win. Agbeko might not have scored a win in 2 years but he's a world class fighter and should over-come his Filipino foe.
Another bout in the US will see Kyrgyzstan's Timur Shailezov (17-9-1, 4) battle against the unbeaten Nate Green (7-0, 2) in a tough looking 6 round for the 35 year old from Bishek. Shailezov has won just 1 of his last 8 and we're not expecting him to pick up the win here, though he has scored an occasional upset in the past.
In Australia fans will see Filipino journeyman Fernando Ocon (13-8-1, 5) battle against Jason Cooper (13-2-1, 7) in a contest for the WBA Oceania Super Bantamweight title. It's a tough ask to see Ocon coming back with the win here but it's a good opportunity for the well traveled Filipino.
(Image courtesy of Kosei Tanaka's blog)
Some days are insanely busy and today is one such day with more fights of note than almost any other day this year, and better yet they are spread all over the globe form the Philippines to the US, from Germany to Mexico. It really is a great day to look forward to.
New Jersey, USA
The most important bout for many fans this Saturday is in the US where destructive Russian Sergey Kovalev (25-0-1, 23) attempts to unify his WBO Lightweight title with the WBA "super" and IBF titles currently held by Bernard Hopkins (55-6-2-2, 32) in a bout that appears to have every boxing fans interested , even those that typically hate watching Hopkins. Kovalev, a destructive puncher, has been a on a real role recently wiping out decent contenders on a regular basis, often with out breaking sweat. Hopkins on the other hand has been the same old Hopkins we all know, lulling opponents to sleep en route to winning wide decisions. We suspect this bout could be over early if Kovalev hits as hard as we think, or could end up being a long and slow night if Hopkins can hypnotise Kovalev, like he has to many previous opponents. That's what makes this bout so interesting, who will manage to instill their natural game plan on the bout?
On the undercard we have another Russian, Andrey Sirotkin (4-0, 1), risking his unbeaten record against the limited Michael Mitchell (3-4-2, 1) in what should be a straight forward 6 round affair for Sirotkin.
Whilst the main event in New Jersey is undeniably the biggest bout of the day it's very easy to pick the biggest female bout of the day as unbeaten Japanese boxing queen Naoko Fujioka (12-0, 6) attempts to become the first Japanese female fighter to become a 3-weight world champion. Unfortunately for Fujioka she will be up against her toughest challenge yet, Germany's popular Susi Kentikian (33-2-0-1, 17), the current WBA female Flyweight champion. The bout is a tough one on paper and it's made even tougher by the fact Fujioka is on the road traveling to Germany for the bout against on of Europe's most popular female fighters.
A second very good female bout comes from Mexico as former WBA female Minimumweight champion Etsuko Tada (13-1-2, 3) attempts to regain the title and avenge her sole defeat. That however will see her needing to over-come Mexico's very own Anabel Ortiz (15-3, 3) who claimed a controversial split decision in Japan over Tada last year. We suspect this could be a better bout that the Fujioka/Kentikian one though in our eyes the other is slightly more significant considering that Fujioka is attempting to carve her place in history. We'll admit with this being a rematch we're hoping for something a bit special.
On the same card in Mexico Ryuji Yokoyama (11-1-1, 3) will be looking for the biggest win of his career as he takes on the world class Jesus Silvestre (25-9, 21) in a very big test for the Japanese fighter.
Back in the US we see the next bout of the talented Vasily Lepikhin (16-0, 9) who attempts to build on his excellent victory over Robert Berridge last time out. This time Lepikhin will be battling big punching Brazilian Jackson Junior (15-1, 13), was was last in the US about 20 months ago being taken apart by Cuban Umberto Savigne. We suspect that Lepikhin will have a very easy night with the Brazilian who isn't as dangerous as his record would indicate.
In a third US bout fans will see Olympic gold medal winner Egor Mekhontsev (5-0, 5) take the next step on his way to a world title. Mekhontsev has had things all his own way so far but we wouldn't be shocked to see him struggle, at least a bit, with the extremely heavy handed Jinner Guerrero (7-2, 6). Guerrero is limited but what he hits, he hurts. Guerrero comes in with 2 losses in his last 3 but he is insanely heavy handed and if Mekhontsev gets caught or gets reckless this could get very interesting.
A bit closer to "home" is a card in Australia that strikes us as interesting but not great with two bouts of note.
The main event here will see world ranked Bantamweight puncher Zhanat Zhakiyanov (23-1, 16) battle against Filipino journeyman Roberto Lerio (16-20-1, 6) in what appears to be little more than a stay busy fight for the highly regarded Kazakh puncher. This will be Zhakiyanov's third bout of the year and will see him building on two stoppage wins, including an eye catching 1-punch KO over Karim Guerfi back in April and we'd be shocked if Lerio managed to take him the distance here.
The other bout will see the always entertaining Filipino slugger Romeo Jakosalem (15-8-1, 8) battle against the fast rising Cameron Hammond (10-0, 4) in what is likely to be a painful night for the Filipino. Jakosalem comes into this bout with 4 losses in his last 5, including a 2nd round TKO loss to Min Wook Kim back in May 2012, though did win last time out against Elmer Legaria and, if he's on form, he could make life difficult for Hammond. Odds are however Jakosalem isn't going to be close to his best unfortunately and will instead be dominated by the talented Australian.
Davao del Sur, Philippines
Having just mentioned some Filipino's it makes sense to mention some more as we go to the first of two Filipino cards.
This one in Davao del Sur involved two interesting bouts with the co-feature being the better of the two, at least on paper. That bout will see the heavy handed but limited Drian Francisco (25-2-1, 20) battle against former world title challenger John Mark Apolinario (17-4-3, 4). Having seen Apolinario struggle to survive against Koki Kameda last year we believe Francisco will stop him, though we do know that Francisco can be out boxed by a speedy fighter and that could prove to be an issue here.
The main event looks like a total mismatch as the talented Adones Cabalquinto (17-0, 10) continues to toil and waste away his career. The talented Filipino Light Welterweight will be battling against Thai visitor Pankorn Mor Poowana (3-1-1, 1) in a bout for the vacant WBC Asian Boxing Council Light Welterweight title and we can't help but think he really should bite the bullet, take a risk and go for the OPBF title with a fight against Keita Obara, as was once arranged earlier this year.
Metro Manila, Philippines
The other Filipino show comes from Metro Manila and is a much deeper card. Sadly due to just how busy the day is we're only going to talk about a few of the bouts on the card.
The main event will see the thunderously hard hitting Richard Claveras (9-0-2, 9) attempting to defend his WBC Asian Boxing Council Light Flyweight title against the limited but tough JC Francisco (6-8-3, 2). Francisco has won just 1 of his last 4 and we don't see it changing here but we do suspect that Claveras will be forced to work hard to get the win considering that Francisco has never been stopped so far.
A second interesting bout on here will see Ardin Diale (24-9-3, 11) attempt to defend his his GAB Flyweight title against the heavy handed Jenny Boy Buca (9-1, 9). Diale is better than his record suggests though we're unsure how good Buca is. If Buca has got skills as well as power he may manage to upset Diale who has had a very hard year considering his slugfest with Koki Eto was just 5 months and he has already had a very hard fight with Renerio Arizala since then. This is going to be a tough year for the Filipino who needs a win here to remain relevant.
In Russia we have yet more Filipino's in action with two Filipino's fighting in the Russian town of Klimovsk.
At Lightweight we will see Rey Labao (26-5, 17) attempting to claim the PABA title as he takes on the unbeaten Roman Andreev (15-0, 11), a man attempting to make the first defense of his title. Labao's record may not make him look like a killer but he's a very good fighter and his only loss in his last 8 bouts came against Yoshitaka Kato in an OPBF title fight. As for Andreev this is a tough defense but advantage will likely help him some what against a testing opponent though one who is perhaps less rounded and skilled than Andreev is.
The other bout comes at Bantamweight where Jason Canoy (21-4-2, 15) fights against Nikolay Potapov (12-0, 6) for the WBA Asia Bantamweight title. This bout, like the other one, looks really interesting and although we again suspect the unbeaten is more skilled we cannot rule out the Filipino fighter who we suspect will go to Russia with an upset on his mind.
Nakhon Ratchasima, Thailand
One final show scheduled to take place is in Thailand where we have one interesting bout and one other bout worth noting, albeit a total mismatch.
The interesting bout will see WBO Asia Pacific Super Flyweight champion Petchbarngborn Kokietgym (28-7-1, 11) defending his belt against the once beaten Filipino hopeful Macrea Gandionco (10-1-1, 6). We suspect Petchbarngborn will be too big for the Filipino however it's a bout we're interested in and hope that Gandionco will be comfortable at the weight.
The other bout that interests us, despite it being a disgusting mismatch, will see Fonluang KKP (21-1-1, 9) take on journeyman Falazona Fidal (25-41-1, 8). This is an awful mismatch though it's nice to see Fonluang staying busy and this will be his 5th bout this year, a big change from 2012 in which he was completely inactive.
(Image courtesy of Golden Boy Promotions)