The calm to begin the year ends this coming Saturday as we get the first Dangan card of 2017, and it is a brilliantly intriguing card with two OPBF title bouts, and two very good looking support bouts.
The main event of the card will see former Japanese Super Featherweight champion Rikki Naito (18-2, 6) take on Filipino foe Jeffrey Arienza (16-6-1, 10) in a bout for the vacant OPBF Light Welterweight title. The talented Naito will be looking for one of the most significant wins of his career, and whilst he will be favoured here he should be expecting to have a fight against Arienza. The Filipino visitor is far from a world beater but will likely know that one more loss is the end of him at this level, and he really cannot afford another set back if he's to remain relevant.
In a more 50-50 bout we'll see Filipino fighter Carlo Magali (22-9-3, 11) defending the OPBF Super Featherweight title against Japan's Masatoshi Kotani (22-2, 15). On paper this is a very interesting match up and will potentially see the winner move into a very intriguing position as fighters look towards getting a shot at the OPBF title. Magali and a limited but aggressive fighter and will take the fight to Kotani whilst the challenger will look to use his slightly better boxing skills to take the title from the champion. A really even match up.
Another mouth watering match up will see touted Teiken fighter Shuya Masaki (9-0, 5) take on Watanabe gym's Hironori Mishiro (4-0, 2) in what could be the surprise bout of the month. Masaki is ranked #3 by the JBC and will be looking towards getting a title fight later in the year, if he wins, but a win here is certainly no forgone conclusion. Mishiro has only been a professional for 10 months but has shone, and his October win over Shuma Nakazato was absolute incredible. This is set to be a war and should be something very special for fans watching.
Another very strong looking supporting bout will see Coach Hiroto (13-2-1, 4) take on the once beaten Ryo Hino (11-1-1, 6). The talented Hiroto took almost 5 years out of the ring until returning last June, and since then he has scored 2 wins. He will however be up against it here with Hino riding a 6 fight winning streak, including a huge win last time out against Sho Nakazawa. Coming in to this the 27 year Hino looks to be the man in form, and the man going places, but at 26 years old Hiroto shouldn't be over-looked in what appears to be a very competitive looking match up on paper.
In Illinois fight fans will be able to see American based Uzbek hopeful Rustam Tulaganov (1-0) take on the once beaten Martez McGregor (4-1, 4) in a 6 rounder. The 26 year old Uzbek was a former amateur standout, having claimed an Olympic Bronze medal and an Asian Championship's Silver medal and will be favoured here. The heavy handed McGregor has never been beyond 2 rounds and is likely to come out swinging here, win or lose.
The action in Japan really has picked up in September and on September 13th we see the first officially sanctioned WBO Asia Pacific title fight on Japanese soil.
That title bout will see world ranked Akihiro Kondo (25-6-1, 12) battle against Filipino visitor Jeffrey Arienza (15-4-1, 9) in a bout for the WBO Asia Pacific Light Welterweight title. Although a flawed fighter Kondo is a busy and tough guy in the ring and we suspect he'll out work and break down the visitor however Arienza won't have travelled to just fold so we're expecting a fun bout here between two men who will let their hand go,
In an interesting supporting bout fans will see veteran Takafumi Nakajima (25-8-1, 10) battle against the heavy handed Kosuke Saka (13-3, 10). Aged 32 Nakajima is a veteran but one who still seems to have boundless energy and his win over Xian Qian Wei earlier this year showed he still has a lot to give, as did his very good effort against Jonathan Baat last time out. For Saka this bout is great opportunity to make a name for himself. The 24 year old puncher has won his last 5 inside the distance, including both Ryuto Kyoguchi, in what was a fun bout, and Burning Ishii, and he'll be looking to keep that momentum going here.
Notably this show will be aired in full on A-sign.
Metro Manila, Philippines
The only Asian show this Wednesday comes from the Philippines and features a trio of title fighters, as well as a man looking to get back to winning ways.
The best looking of the title fights, at least on paper, will see Jeffrey Arienza (14-4-1, 8) battle against Indonesian Wellem Reyk (18-13-4, 5) in a bout for the vacant WBC Asian Boxing Council Light Welterweight title. Although more experiended Reyk isn't the best fighter out there and has been stopped in 7 of his 13 losses, and it would be no surprise to see another stoppage loss here for the travelling fighter.
In another title bout fans will see former world title challenger Silvester Lopez (26-11-2, 18) take on fellow Filipino Danilo Pena (27-24-4, 11) in a contest for the vacant WBC Asian Boxing Council Continental Featherweight title. Silvester made his name originally at Super Flyweight but has out grown the division. This will however be his 6th bout as a Featherweight, where he is currently 4-1 and should advance his record here over a domestic journeyman.
Talking about “journeymen” records shouldn't be what we judge fighters on, and few have proven that was much as Donny Mabao (22-15-3, 4), who will be making the first defense of the GAB Flyweight title as he takes on Felipe Cagubcob Jr (5-2-5, 1).in what could, potentially, be a very interesting match up.
Last year we were impressed by Rolly Sumalpong (9-2-1, 4), who dropped Ken Shiro en route to a decision loss. Since then he has suffered another loss, to Toto Landero. Here we see him in search of a confidence building win as he takes on Ruben Traza (4-9-4, 1) in what should be a straight forward win for the 22 year old.
This coming Saturday isn't a "big" day in terms of a big fight, but it is a packed day with a lot of fights involving Asian fighters, notably Filipino's.
Possibly the most notable all-Asian bout of the day comes from Haikou in China where the heavy handed Froilan Saludar (21-1-1, 13) battles Indonesian tough guy Faris Nenggo (10-7-3, 3) in a bout for the WBO Inter-continental Flyweight title. The talented Saludar was being lined up for a world title fight though was said to need more preparation time and has instead taken this bout, which looks to be a mismatch. Although limited Nenggo has gone the distance with some world class fighters and is actually coming into this bout on the back of a career defining victory over former world champion Merlito Sabillo, who Nenggo stopped on cuts last November. We suspect Saludar wins here but he may find it difficult to stop the tough Indonesian fighter.
A second Chinese card will come from Kunming where Zovi appear to be putting on a show of novices. In total there is 11 bouts scheduled for the card and the most experienced fighters on the card only have 2 career bouts coming into the show.
Rather than going through the card we'll just mention that 10 of the bouts are 4 rounders with the only non-4 rounder being a bout scheduled for 6. That bout will see Jian Hai Fei (0-1) take on debutant Zhu Yuan Cai (0-0) in a bout at Featherweight.
Metro Manila, Philippines
For Filipino fans at home the day is a busy one with stacked card, though unfortunately much of the card is less than exciting.
The main event of the show will see the hammer fisted Michael Farenas (39-5-4, 31) battle against Thai visitor Chaiyong Sithsaithong (36-13-4, 26) in what should amount to being little more a tune up for Farenas. The former world title challenger was disappointing last time out, when he was clearly beaten by Jose Pedraza, but is several levels about the tough but limited Chaiyong, who has only been stopped once.
In the chief support bout we'll see the promising Rommel Oliveros (3-0-1, 1) take on veteran Ricky Oyan (4-23-2, 2). On paper this is a huge step up for the unbeaten 19 year old who has faced poor novices so far however Oyan has lost his last 14 bouts dating back more than 3 years, with 10 stoppage losses coming during that run.
Another apparent mismatch will see former world title challenger Silvester Lopez (23-10-2, 17) battle against Danny Tampipi (5-4-2, 3). On paper this is a mismatch but Lopez's career really has fallen apart in recent years with 3 losses in his last 4 and a record of 5-7-1 in his last 13 bouts!
Also on this card is the once touted Gabriel Altarejos (12-3-1, 4), who battles the very limited Diover Mangayaay (1-6-1). A few years ago Altarejos was 12-0 and a really promising youngster though he has gone 0-3-1 in his last 4 and hasn't been in the ring in more than 18 months.
As well as the 4 bouts mentioned here there is a further 8 expected to take place on the card.
Distrito Federal, Mexico
In Mexico we see another Filipino in action as Jeffrey Arienza (12-3-1, 7) battles against Mexican slugger Dante Jardon (25-5, 20). Jardon, best known for his loss to Takashi Miura in a WBC Super Featherweight title bout, has gone 1-2 in his last 3 bouts and knows that he'll need to start stringing together wins if he's to be moved towards another world title bout. Unfortunately for Arienza he is 0-2 in bouts held outside of the Philippines and it's unlikely he'll be able to overcome “Crazy” Jardon.
Staying in Mexico fans will get the chance to see former world title challenger John Mark Apolinario (18-5-3, 5), another Filipino, take on the unbeaten Edibaldo Ortega (20-0-1, 11). This looks just as tough at Arienza's bout, at least on paper, though we need to admit we know very little about Ortega coming in to this one.
In Australia fans will have the chance to see the win-less Arnon Yuchareon (0-8) continue his career as he takes on Ben Kite (1-2). Kite isn't anything special and although Arnon hasn't won a bout so far he is better than his 0-8 record suggests and we'd not be that shocked if he managed to pull out the upset here.
(Image courtesy of notifight,com)