This weekend is a big one for fans of Asian boxing! The biggest show comes from Aichi on Saturday but that's not all we have, with notable action in the Philippines, Puerto Rico and Russia!
The big card in Aichi, will be headlined by a world title fight, and will have support bouts featuring a fast rising local prospect and a former world title challenger. It's not a monster card, but it is a very good one.
The main event will see 3-weight world champion Kosei Tanaka (13-0, 7) defending the WBO Flyweight title against mandatory challenger Jonathan Gonzalez (22-2-1, 13). For Tanaka this will be his second defense of the title he took from Sho Kimura last year, and sees him looking to build on his win over Ryoichi Taguchi earlier this year. For Gonzalez this will be his first world title fight, and finally a chance for him to live up to the potential he showed as an amateur. This should be a really high speed and very technical bout, but the champion will clearly be the favourite. Interestingly if Tanaka wins there are murmurs he could be set for another step up in weight and another world title. Our preview of this world title bout can be read here Tanaka returns for next defense, faces "Bomba" Gonzalez
In an excellent supporting bout we'll see the hard hitting and wonderfully exciting Kento Hatanaka (9-0, 9) take on world ranked Filipino fighter Jaysever Abcede (19-8, 12). The unbeaten Hatanaka has needed just 32 rounds to get to 9-0 and already looks like he's a star in the making with major titles clearly in his future. On paper Abcede should be a straight forward step up for Hatanaka hwever the Filipino is no push over and he has regularly proven to be a banana skin, with upset wins against the likes of Pigmy Kokietgym, Stamp Kiatniwat and Seigo Yuri Akui. This should be a really good test for Hatanaka. Our preview of this bout can be read here Hatanaka steps up in class for Abcede test!
Another notable name in a supporting role is former world title challenger Genesis Servania (32-2, 15), who will be fighting for the first time since he lost to Carlos Castro back in February. The talented Japanese based Filipino is getting a clear confidence builder here as he takes on limited Indonesian foe Erick Deztroyer (12-5-1, 3), in a clear mismatch. Don't be surprised if this one ends very early!
A much more interesting match up on this card will see the limited but hard hitting Kanta Fukui (6-2, 5) take on the very talented and promising Shuma Nakazato (8-1-2, 6). Fukui came runner up in the West Japan Rookie of the Year last year, losing a razor thin decision to Takuya Ota in the final. Since then he has bounced back with a single win, but will be stepping up massively here. The 22 year old Nakazato is genuine talent, and someone who should be on the radar of hardcore Japanese. He's the son of former world title challenger Shigeru Nakazato, and has already held his own with Hironori Mishiro, losing a competitive decision to the current OPBF champion and beaten Lorence Rosas. Although in the middle of the card this is a very interesting match up, and one that could end in explosive fashion.
Also on this card will be Japanese Youth Super Flyweight champion Yuto Nakamura (10-5, 7) who battles in an 8 round bout against Indonesian Muhammad Wahid (4-2, 1). Wahid impressed us, in some ways, this past May when he stood and took a 6 round pounding from Lap Cheon Cheong in Hong Kong, and he showed his bravery. We suspect that Wahid will again have to be brave, but can't see him lasting 8 round here.
Metro Manila, Philippines
Staying in Asia we also get a notable card in Metro Manila, featuring a great mix of fighters from world class to prospect level.
The world title bout, or rather the WBO "interim" world title bout, will see John Riel Casimero (27-4, 18) defend his Interim Bantamweight title against the limited Cesar Ramirez (18-3, 11). The talented Casimero, a true road warrior, won the title in April and will be looking to make his first defense here. Ramirez is yet to prove he belongs any where near world level, especially in this talent stacked division that we currently have. Although can blow hot and cold, it's hard to imagine him really being tested here. Our preview of this bout is available to read here Casimero set to face Ramirez in first interim title defense
In a pretty interest all Filipino bout between regional contender types we'll see Vincent Astrolabio (13-3, 9) take on Kevin Aseniero (9-2-1, 5). Astrolabio will be defending the WBO Oriental Bantamweight title, which he won in Indonesian back in April, for the first time. Aserniero on the other hand will be looking to stretch a 4 fight unbeaten run.
The most notable prospect on this card is former amateur standout Charly Suarez (2-0, 2), who takes a big step up in class to face the under-rated Virgil Puton (17-12-2, 8). The 30 year old Suarez, who made his debut in January, will be looking to get his career back on track after a 5 month break from action. He's incredibly talented, but doesn't have time to waste. In Puton we have a true regional journeyman, who picks up losses, but pushes good fighters, such as Ye Joon Kim and Shuya Masaki. This is a tough test for Suarez, but one he must pass if he's to make any noise at all in the pro ranks.
Amazing we'll have a third world title fight, with WBO Minimumweight champion Vic Saludar (19-3, 10) making his second defense as he takes on mandatory challenger Wilfredo Mendez (13-1, 5) in Puerto Rico. The under-rated champion, who won the belt in July 2018, was successful this past February when he beat Masataka Taniguchi in his first defense and now fights outside of Asia for the first time. Although not a major global name Saludar is very talented, heavy handed and has under-rated boxing skills. For Mendez this will be his first world title fight, and it looks like a massive step up in class for the talented, though rather negative, Puerto Rican hopeful. This could be a very interesting clash of styles, though will of course be over-shadowed by the other world title bouts earlier in the day. Our full preview of this bout can be read here Vic Saludar and Wilfredo Mendez clash for WBO title!
In Russia we get a pretty big card headlined by Sergey Kovalev and Anthony Yarde. Although that bout doesn't have an Asian interest the under-card does, and it has quite a few in fact with several different bouts featuring an unbeaten Central Asian fighter.
Arguably the most interesting of the Central Asian hopefuls on this card is the always fun to watch Akzhol Sulaimanbek Uulu (14-0, 7) defending his WBA Asia Super Featherweight title. Originally he was pencilled in to face off with Sibusiso Zingange (13-3-2, 3), though Zingange was removed from the bout and at the time of writing, his replacement hasn't been named. Uulu, whilst flawed, would have been strongly favoured to beat the South African.
Another really interesting bout will see Uzbek Super Middleweight Azizbek Abdugofurov (12-0, 4) risk his WBC Silver title against once beaten Russian Andrey Sirotkin (16-1, 5). The talented Uzbek has been out of the ring since beating Wuzhati Nuerlang last November, and has lost much of the early momentum his career once had. Despite that he will be favoured over the 34 year old Sirotkin, who is best known for being stopped last October by John Ryder in the UK.
Unbeaten Kyrgyzstan born Russian based Erzhan Turgumbekov (6-0-1, 2) looks to bounce back from a draw against Javokhirbek Karimov just a few weeks ago, as he takes on unbeaten Ukrainian teenager Heorhii Lashko (9-0, 5). The unbeaten Turgumbekov rushed to 6-0 in just over 13 months but the draw last time out certainly slowed his momentum. Lashko on the other hand scored his biggest win in March, when he beat Ryo Takenaka in China, and will be looking for his 5th win of the year here. Takenaka aside there is little on his record of any note at all.
Kazakh Meiirim Nursultanov (11-0, 8) will also be looking to extend his unbeaten record as he takes on the once beaten Artur Osipov (15-1, 10). The 26 year old Kazakh, who is managed by Egis Klimas, has been out of the ring since beating Luis Hernanez in March, and will be looking to impress on what will be his first bout outside of the US in close to 2 years. Osipov on the other hand is coming in to this bout after a loss in March to Evgeny Terentiev, and will likely be low on confidence, for what looks like his toughest bout so far, on paper.
Another bout on this Russian card worthy of interest ins a contest between Aleksei Papin (11-0, 10) and Ilunga Makabu (25-2, 24) in what is a must watch bout on paper, promising a lot of explosive fireworks and a real feeling that this one will not see the final bell. A full preview of this bout is available here Dynamite meets TNT as Papin and Makuba clash!
This coming Sunday we'll see two Japanese shows. Neither are particularly deep though both have significant main events.
On paper the slightly more significant card is in Yamaguchi, as we get a Japanese title eliminator and a noteworthy support bout.
The title eliminator is at Lightweight as 33 year old Accel Sumiyoshi (11-4-2, 3) takes on 28 year old Tatsuya Yanagi (15-5-1, 6) in a bout to decide who will go on to challenge for the Japanese title at the Champion Carnival next year. Of the two men Sumiyoshi is the more proven fighter, having challenged for the OPBF title in 2015 and scoring notable wins over the likes of Allan Tanada, Naotoshi Nakatani, Motoki Sasaki and Shogo Yamaguchi. In fact at the moment Sumiyoshi is riding an 8 fight unbeaten run following his loss in his OPBF title fight. Yanagi on the other hasn't fought for a title recognised by the JBC, but did come up short against Jhertiz Chavez in a bout for a minor regional title. Coming in to this Yanagi has won his last 3, but hasn't really shone in those wins. It's also worth noting that this will be the third meeting between these two men, with Sumioyoshi leading the series 1-0-1. A preview of this bout can be read here - Sumiyoshi and Yanagi finish off trilogy in Japanese eliminator!
The other bout of note on this card will see Change Hamashima (10-3-1, 4) take on the JBC ranked Masaharu Kaito (6-2, 2). The 22 year old Hamashima has lost 3 of his last 5, but 2 of those came to the very talented Kudura Kaneko and even in those losses he didn't embarrass himself against a very solid puncher. Interestingly Kaito is 2-2 in his last 4, with one of his losses coming to Kaneko as well, but his last outing was a huge win last October over Ryota Toyoshima. Sadly Kaito has been out of action for a little over a year, and that ring rust could be an issue here against Hamashima.
The other show will take place in Okayama and it's only the main event worthy of any attention at all.
That main event will see the fun to watch Japanese Flyweight Seigo Yuri Akui (12-1-1, 8) take on world ranked Filipino Jaysever Abcede (17-8, 11). We've been impressed with Akui, who won the Rookie of the Year crown in 2015 and has since gone 6-1 (6) with 5 opening round stoppages including big domestic wins over Kenji Ono and Masamichi Yabuki. Although beatable, as we saw when Junto Nakatani stopped him last year, Akui is very dangerous. The visitor from the Philippines has had a reputation for being limited, but scored a huge knockout win in Thailand over Stamp Kiatniwat in May and claimed a WBA ranking as a result. We're expecting something explosive here!
This coming Friday is a pretty quiet day in Asian boxing, the calm before the storm of a busy weekend, but does feature a notable Thai fighter in action.
That Thai is former WBA Flyweight title challenger Stamp Kiatniwat (19-1, 7), who takes on Jaysever Abcede (15-8, 10) in a bout for the WBA Asia Flyweight title, which Stamp will be defending. The Thai has gone 4-0 since losing in his world title fight against Kazuto Ioka and will be looking to build his way towards another world title shot. Aged just 20 there is no rush for the Thai but it's clear that he and his team will be wanting to work their way up the WBA rankings with this Asia title. Abcede is a 23 year old Filipino who has mixed in great company, with losses to Wanheng Menayothin, Tsubasa Koura, Panya Pradabsri and Dexter Alimento. Despite coming up short in most of his most notable bouts Abecede he does hold a big win in Thailand against Pigmy Kokietgym and will come in to this bout with the mentality that he can get another big upset here.
This coming Saturday is set to be a hectic day with a lot of action as we continue to race towards Christmas!
In many ways the most significant bout to include an Asian this coming Saturday comes from Mexico where former world champion Nana Yoshikawa (7-2, 4) resurfaces, to take on the limited Delia Lopez (10-6-2, 5) for the WBC Female interim Flyweight title. For Yoshikawa a loss is likely to be the end of her career, and it would be a huge disappointment given her amateur background. Lopez however is a less than great opponent and should pose little threat for the Japanese fighter.
Staying on the theme of Japanese fighters there is also a low key card in Hyogo, thanks to Senrima Kobe.
The main event of the card will see 2-time world title challenger Teiru Kinoshita (25-2-1, 8) take on a Thai foe in what is expected to be little more than a confidence builder for Kinoshita. The Japanese fighter was last seen in action this past July when he was stopped by Jerwin Ancajas in Australia, and it's clear that he's not going to win a world title. Despite that it's good to see him back in the ring, and hopefully he'll be moved towards an OPBF title fight in 2018.
Another notable Japanese fighter on this card is Ryoki Hirai (9-4-1, 4), who sadly will also be facing a less than testing Thai foe. The talented Hirai has a misleading record, and is much better than the numbers suggest, as shown by recent wins over Takumi Sake and Ryoya Ikema. Although this bout is a step backwards for Hirai it should be noted that he was injured earlier in the year and this looks like an easy run out to test how he's recovered.
The most interesting bout on this card will see Japanese ranked fighters collide as Giraffe Kirin Kanda (10-2, 6) battles Mitsuyoshi Fujita (10-3, 3). Coming in to this Kanda is on a 4 fight winning streak, including a big win over Ukyo Yoshigai, and looks to be slowly but surely working his way to a domestic title fight. Whilst Kanda is in good form the same can't be said or Fujita, who was stopped last time out by Koki Inoue, though prior to that loss he had been on an 8 fight winning run and is a live fighter here in what looks like a genuine 50-50 match up.
For a second day running there will be action in Zhongshan, with several titles on the line.
One of those titles will be the WBC Asian Boxing Council Silver Super Featherweight title, which will see Filipino Joe Noynay (12-2-1, 4) battle against Chinese fighter Yongcai Liu (6-4-3, 3). Noynay was last seen losing in a very competitive contest to Reiya Abe, in what was his second loss in 4 bouts, but he should be favoured here. The local has won hist last two against veterans, but a win here would be a surprise given that he is stepping up quite notably here.
A second bout for a WBC Asian Boxing Council title will be at Super Middleweight and will see once beaten Chinese puncher Ainiwaer Yilixiati (11-1, 9) take on Georgian foe Tornike Gikashvili (15-7-1, 3). For Yilixiati this bout will be his second since losing to OPBF champion Jayde Mitchell back in August, and it's hard to see anything but a win for the aggressive Chinese slugger. The 20 year old visitor has gone 1-5 in his last 6, including 4 stoppage losses, and it's hard to imagine him lasting the distance here.
Another bout at Super Middleweight will see Zulipikaer Maimaitiali (9-1-1, 7) take on Pavel Semjonov (21-7-2, 8), in a non-title bout. The exciting Maimaitiali will be fighting for the second time since his very close loss to Vijender Singh in August and he will be looking to make a statement here. The visitor, from Estonia, may be recognisable to European fight fans, as he has fought a variety of notable fighters, but regularly comes up short in performance that show his toughness. We're expecting to see Maimaitiali win, and if so we can hopefully move towards a bout between him and the aforementioned Yilixiati.
Metro Manila, Philippines
The most significant of three shows in the Philippines takes place in Metro Manila and features a trio of title bouts, along with a scattering of other notable fighters.
One of those title bouts will see the promising Ernesto Saulong (21-2-1, 8) battle against countryman Renan Portes (10-5, 6) for the IBF Pan Pacific Bantamweight title. Coming in to this Saulong has won his last 3, and rebuilt well following his 2015 loss to Lwandile Sityatha. On paper Portes looks the much lesser fighter, and his loss to Hayate Kaji earlier this year does show he can be blasted out, but Portes will know this is a big opportunity and hopefully he looks to take it with both hands.
A second title bout, for the OPBF Silver Light Flyweight title will see the once beaten Ivan Soriano (16-1-1, 8) take on the upset minded Jaysever Abcede (15-7, 10). Coming in to this Soriano is riding a 12 fight winning run, dating back to 2010, though he has taken a significant break from action during that run and has fought only 4 rounds in the last 4 years. Abcede is best known for a 2015 upset win over Pigmy Kokietgym, though has only gone 5-4 since then and lost to the likes of Tsubasa Koura and Wanheng Menayothin. This could be a really intriguing match up, though it does look like one that Soriano should pick up the win in.
A third title bout, and by far the weakest on the card, will see Danny Tampipi (7-8-2, 4) battle Noel Adelmita (13-11-2, 2) for the PBF Super Bantamweight title. We'll be honest and admit we really are struggling to get excited about this one with both fighters being out of form and neither likely to really shine here.
Other fighters on this card include Mark Anthony Barriga (7-0, 1), Jerald Daniega (11-0, 8), Richard Claveras (18-3-2, 15) and AJ Banal (34-2-1, 23), all of whom are expected to pick up straight forward wins against over-matched foes. Barriga and Daniega are two real prospects with genuine potential, whilst Claveras and Banal are both aggressive and exciting and aggressive fighters who should be looking to make statements.
Metro Manila, Philippines
A second Filipino show in Metro Manila will take place, though to much less fan fare than the one above.
The most notable bout on the card is a huge mismatch between Cris Paulino (14-3, 4) and Roy Lagrada (3-18-1, 3). The talented Paulino is the much better fighter here, despite losing successive bout to Koki Eto and Vic Darchinyan, though has taken 2 years out of the ring and will be looking to ease himself back into action against the over-matched Lagrada.
This show will also feature the once beaten Giemel Magramo (19-1, 15), who looks to secure his third win since a close and competitive loss to Muhammad Waseem back in November 2016. Sadly at the time of writing Magramo's opponent hadn't been announced.
There will also be a small card in Cebu.
The main event of the card will see the heavy handed Jayar Aliasot (6-1, 5) take on domestic foe Carlo Demecillo (8-4, 2). Aliasot is stepping up big time here, but will feel his power can do a number on Demecillo, like Satoshi Shimizu's did last December, and that he can get the lighter punching man out of there. As for Demecillo the game plan will be able dragging his man into the later rounds, and out working him, showing the toughness that gave Hisashi Amagasa problems in October 2016.
Also on this card is a very interesting looking match up between 32 year old Clyde Azarcon (10-1, 4) and 21 year old Royder Lloyd Borbon (5-1-1, 5). Coming in to this Azarcon has won his last 9, but the competition during that run tells us very little about how good he is and none of the opponents had records to suggest they were really going to be tests. Borbon on the other hand will come in on the back of 3 stoppages, and will be looking to score his best win to date here. This should tell us a lot about both men.
In Ukraine we see a Filipino fighter go to the Lion's den to face one of the more over-looked Ukrainian fighters of recent times. The Ukrainian in question is the outstanding Denys Berinchyk (7-0, 4), who was a Silver medal winner at the 2011 World Amateur championships and the 2012 Olympics. In the opposite corner to the Ukrainian will be once beaten Filipino Allan Vallespin (11-1, 8), who was stopped in his only bout outside of the Philippines by a thunder bolt from current Japanese Super Featherweight champion Masaru Sueyoshi. Vallespin could test Barinchyk but it's hard to imagine him getting a win here.
We have another bout involving a Filipino in France, as local prospect Nordine Oubaali (12-0, 9) takes on the highly experienced Filipino Mark Anthony Geraldo (34-7-3, 15) in a bout for the WBC “Silver” Bantamweight title. The talented Oubaali is a 2-time Olympian who was once tipped for big things, but at 31 years old it does seem like now or never for him. Aged 26 Geraldo has been able to be a busy professional and has shown real touches of brilliance, but has never quite managed to put on a full performance at the higher levels. Coming in to this Geraldo is 3-3, including a loss to Takuma Inoue, and although he could give Oubaali a good test, it would be regarded as a real upset if Geraldo picked up the win.
In Canada we see one of the most exciting prospects from Kazakhstan in action. That man is the heavy handed Batyrzhan Jukembayev (10-0-0-2, 9), who takes a credible step up in class to take on 22 year old American Wilberth Lopez (20-8, 14). The hard hitting Jukembayev does look like a destructive force and is carving out a promising career in Canada but does need to win here to continue that run. Lopez will come in as the opponent but he will be a very live one. He has gone the distance with decent prospects, like Alex Saucedo, Ivan Baranchyk and Juan Ruiz, whilst also proving he can score the odd upset, as he did against Jose Roman. This is not likely to be a walk in the park for the Canadian based Kazakh.
The rising generation of Japanese fighters was seen last week when Hiroto Kyoguchi became a world champion in just his 8th professional fight. This coming Saturday we again see two young Japanese fighters looking to continue their rise, one is a stablemate of Kyoguchi's at the Watanabe gym whilst the other is another heavy handed Minimumweight, and a potential future foe for Kyoguchi.
The main event will see Kyoguchi's stable mate Yusaku Kuga (14-2-1, 10) look to make his first defense of the Japanese Super Bantamweight title, as he takes on fellow hard hitter Ryoichi Tamura (8-2-1, 5) in what looks like a potentially brilliant fire fight. Neither of these men are the most skilled, but both can bang and both like to let their hands go. On paper Kuga should be the favourite, with his higher level of experience and move proven credentials, but Tamura can hit and could be a nightmare in a potential slugfest.
The other main bout will see Tsubasa Koura (10-0, 7) face off with Filipino Jaysever Abcede (14-6, 9), with the winner looking to become the new OPBF Minimumweight champion, claiming a title last held by the aforementioned Kyoguchi. Koura's rise has been great and he really shone last year, stopping Jeffrey Galero in an opening performance, but Abcede cannot be over-looked and he holds a massive win himself, stopping Pigmy Kokietgym just a few fights back. The winner here will put themselves in the mix for a world title bout and both will feel confidence that they can claim the victory, and the title.
In a supporting bout we'll see Naoya Okamoto (10-6-1, 5) take on Gaku Aikawa (8-4-1, 2) in a decent low level domestic bout. Neither of these guys are ranked, but they will be facing off in a nice looking 8 rounder, and the winner will certainly give their career a boost in the arm, which could do the world of good going forward.
In Hyogo we get a West Japan Rookie of the Year Card. As with many of these Rookie of the Year cards there are no names of note, but there are some interesting bout.
One of those bouts will see 30 year old Takafumi Minobe (1-0) take on teenager Rikuto Adachi (5-0, 2) in a bout at Welterweight. Given the lack of depth in Japan at 147lbs the winner of the Rookie of the Year can find themselves in the title picture rather quickly, and that could be the case if the winner of this can go all the way to the Rookie crown in December.
The most even bout on the show will see 20 year old Nozomi Yamashoji (2-0, 1) take on 21 year old Temin Kimura (2-0, 1). The two Super Featherweights have identical records, with Kimura being slightly older Yamashoji have a single round more experience. Although the two are similar it does need noting that Yamashoji has been out of the ring for more than a year, and that could show here.
Metro Manila, Philippines
In Metro Manila fight fans get a low level card littered with notable names.
The most notable of those names is 2-time world title challenger Jonathan Taconing (24-3-1, 20 ), who fights in a 10 round bout against journeyman Silem Serang (8-13-1, 1). Originally Taconing was supposed to be defending his WBC International Light Flyweight title but that appears to be off, likely with Serang not being eligible for the title given his recent form, with 5 losses in his last 6.
The card also features some unbeaten prospects. One of those is the heavy handed Abraham Bullagay (9-0-1, 9), who looks to record a 10th win as he takes on veteran Ryan Tampus (11-19, 8) in a bout scheduled for 8. Given that Tampus has been stopped 8 times in 11 bouts it's hard to imagine him coming out on top here. Another unbeaten puncher on this card is Arvin Magramo (5-0, 4), who was originally pencilled in to take on Anecito Padillo (3-2, 2) though it now seems Padillo has removed from boxrec.com so it's unclear who Magramo will be facing.
A third unbeaten prospect in action here is Bryan Ascano (7-0-1, 2), who takes part in a good looking 6 rounder against Jules Victoriano (5-1, 4), in what should be the best bout on the show, and is clearly the most well matched.
The card also featured Wilbert Berondo (10-2-1, 4), who looked to get his career back on track following a 0-2-1 run including a loss to Hinata Maruta. The Filipino youngster will be up against domestic journeyman Ruben Traza (4-12-4, 1) in what should be an easy confidence builder for Berondo.
For a second day running we get low level Chinese action in Jinan, with the card scheduled to have 8 bouts of 4 rounds on it, with no notable names at all in action.
Puerto Armuelles, Panama
Korean based Pakistani fighter Muhammad Waseem (6-0, 4) will fight for the second time in the space of weeks as he takes on Ivan Trejos (7-7-2, 1) in a stay busy fight in Panama. His promoter, Andy Kim, is putting on the show and will be keeping Waseem busy along with a number of other AK fighters, though it does seem like Waseem's rapid rise has sadly faltered this year.