Attention turns to Tokyo this coming Tuesday for the next notable Watanabe card, headlined by a world title fight and supported by a number of really interesting prospects.
The main event of the show will see WBO Minimumweight champion Vic Saludar (18-3, 10) making his first defense and taking on Japanese challenger Masataka Taniguchi (11-2, 7). Saludar, who won the title last year when he beat Ryuya Yamanaka, has proven to be a difficult assign for top fighters, with Kosei Tanaka needing to pull himself off the canvas to stop him and his win over Yamanaka. Taniguchi on the other hand is taking a huge step up in class, but is a top class fighter who's only losses have been razor thin ones to Tsubasa Koura and Reiya Konishi. We're really expecting this to be something really special. Our preview of this bout can be read here Saludar returns to Japan to defend against Taniguchi!
The main under-card bout will see former amateur standout Shu Utsuki (3-0, 2) take on Japanese based Filipino Jerry Castroverde (10-5, 5), who is promoted by Nobuhiro Ishida. Utsuki has shown great promise already in his career, but this is a very clear step up in class and will be the first time he has taken on someone with real ring experience. Castroverde on the other hand has lost 3 of his last 6, but has mixed with good competition, including Shavkatdzhon Rakhimov and Tae Il Atsumi. This is a huge step up for the unbeaten man.
Another big supporting bout will see the 2017 Rookie of the year Fumiya Fuse (7-0, 1) take on Naoto Mizutani (5-5-1, 2) in a really good looking 8 round bout. We've been impressed by Fuse, who really shined last year on his international debut in Korea, and we're expecting to see huge things from him in 2019. This should be a straight forward win for the youngster, but Mizutani has mixed with so very notable foes, including Kenshin Oshima and Ryo Akaho, so may have a few tricks up his sleeve to teach Fuse.
Teenage sensation Ginjiro Shigeoka (1-0, 1) will be fighting his second professional bout on his card, as he takes on once beaten 20 year old Thai Gerttipong Kumsahwat (3-1, 3), in what should be another bout to allow Shigeoka to shine ahead of a planned 8 round bout in April.
Talking about low key Thai's it's worth noting that Suzumi Takayama (0-0) will be making his debut against a low key Thai, taking on Nirun Baonok (5-14, 4), who has stacked up losses in Japan. Typically Baonok has given rounds to good fighters and been matched really hard, but given the fact Takayama was a stand out amateur we don't see this being a competitive match up.
This coming Sunday is a big day for Asian fight fans, before than however fans get a busy, though not hugely exciting, Saturday.
Cotabato del Sur, Philippines
Arguably the Asian show of the day comes from Cotabato del Sur where fans get a come genuinely good looking bouts and a number of prospects.
The main event here sees 23 year olds collide as Daryl Basadre (14-2-1, 10) takes on Kenny Demecillo (9-3-1, 6) in what looks like a genuinely solid domestic match up. There is some minor title attached to the bout but there really needn't be as it is a great bout on paper and could well help the winner establish themselves as a real hopeful. Notably this is a rematch from a very controversial clash earlier this year that Demecillo won via TKO with the referee's decision being hotly disputed.
Another good match with a minor strap attached to it will see Rimar Metuda (7-0, 3) face the heavy handed Jason Tinampay (6-1, 5). These two, both southpaws, are very young fighters and the winner will certainly be one to keep an eye on, however we wouldn't rule out the loser from becoming a solid fighter in the future.
In our eyes the best fighter on the card is John Vincent Moralde (13-0, 7) who takes on the once beaten Jerry Castroverde (6-1, 3). This could be a really good bout though we suspect that Moralde will be too good for his 18 year old foe, who will need a career best performance to even be competitive.
Other prospects on thus card worth making a note of are Markquil Salvana (8-0, 2), an 18 year Super Bantamweight, Michael Angelo Plania (6-0, 3), another 18 year old plying his trade at 122lbs and 19 year old Bantamweight puncher Raymart Gaballo (9-0, 7). Unfortunately all 3 of these youngsters are softly matched.
Metro Manila, Philippines
Another show in the Philippines takes place in Metro Manila where we have one of our favourites Filipinos in action.
That man is Giovanni Escaner (13-3, 9) who battles the horribly over-matched Jayar Estremos (10-11, 4) in what should be an easy win for Escaner, who really impressed when he stopped Naoto Uebayashi earlier this year.
In Ibaragi Japanese fans get a relatively poor show which lacks a really significant bout but does does feature a fighter that we have liked to keep close tabs on in recent times.
That man is domestic Bantamweight contender Tatsuya Takahashi (20-6-4, 15), aka the “Zombie”, who faces Thai fighter Kukiet Sorkaeokamsi (0-0). Takahashi caught our eye last year, in an exciting loss to the then Japanese champion Kentaro Masuda, and since then we've been fans so we're hoping he can pick up another win here and move towards a second Japanese title fight.
The rest of the card however is entire missable.
A second Japanese show, which is even worse than the Ibaragi one, comes from Oita.
The one bout which does look interesting on paper here will see Yamato Uchinono (6-3-5, 4) battle against Koki Ono (8-3, 4) in what should be a genuinely compelling 8 round bout around the Flyweight limit. Another well matched bout, albeit at a low level, will see Yuta Sasaki (6-7, 1) face off against Taisei Higashi (6-8, 5) in a 50-50 match up, but at a very low level.
Wr. Neudorf, Austria
In Germany fans will get the chance to see a female world title fight as Thailand's Teeraporn Pannimit (20-8, 5) battles Austrian “Golden Girl” Eva Voraberger (19-4, 9) in a bout for the IBO, GBU and WIBF Super Flyweight titles. The bout is a tough one for the Thai but she has traveled in the past and shouldn't be concerned about fighting in Voraberger's homeland.
In the US fans will get the chance to see the very exciting Dodie Boy Penalosa Jr (13-0, 12) take on as yet unnamed opponent. This will be Penalosa's first bout in 14 months and sadly his career has really slowed after a very exciting win against Jesus Lule, in his US debut back in December 2012. Hopefully a win here will see Penalosa kick on with his career rather than battle with inactivity.
April 29th-Yoshikawa goes for gold, Kakutani and Jaro in action in Japan, prospects on show in the Philippines!
This coming Wednesday is a busy day in Asia with a number of interesting bouts ranging from a female world title bout to bouts involving Filipino prospects.
The Japanese action kicks off in Osaka where fans get a 6 bout card. The card is set to feature two bouts of note and be the first part of a two-card event at at the Sangyo Shinko center.
The first of those bouts will see the once world ranked Filipino Ronelle Ferreras (14-7-3, 6) battle against Japanese teenager Ryuya Yamanaka (8-2, 2). Ferreras will be best known by Japanese fans for being the second opponent of fast rising star Kosei Tanaka, with two two meeting last year when Tanaka took a wide decision win over Ferreras who entered the bout world ranked by the WBA. Since that bout the Filipino is unbeaten with a 1-0-1 record. Interestingly Yamanaka's last loss came to a Filipino visitor, Roque Lauro, in a split decision last year. We suspect this will be a really competitive match up between two flawed but capable fighters.
In the main event of this show will be former world title challenger Atsushi Kakutani (15-4-1, 8) who will be fighting in a Flyweight bout against Indonesian journeyman Hengky Baransano (11-5, 4). Although we are several years removed from Kakutani's memorable loss to Adrian Hernandez he does seem to be chasing titles and it's hoped that a quick win here will be followed by some type of title bout later in the year.
Following on from the other Osaka show is the second part of the event, held in the same venue by the same promoter.
The main event here really is something special as former female amateur stand out Nana Yoshikawa (4-0, 2) battles against current WBA female Minimumweight champion Anabel Ortiz (16-3, 3) in what will be Yoshikawa's first world title bout. The unbeaten Japanese fighter has been fast tracked due to her advanced age, currently 36, though she was a very experienced amateur and will be hoping to use that experience to over-come Ortiz. As for the Mexican she's a brilliant little fighter who is 2-1 in Japan so far and has only been beaten by exceptionally talented fighters like Naoko Fujioka. This is a very tough match up for Yoshikawa but she really has nothing to lose going into the bout, and a lot to win.
In the chief support bout we'll see another really notable match up as Shota Kawaguchi (18-5-1, 8) takes on former Flyweight champion Sonny Boy Jaro (39-13-5, 28). Jaro, ranked #5 by the WBC at Super Flyweight, will be risking his ranking in a country where he sports a 0-3 record, including the loss of his world title to Toshiyuki Igarashi. Saying that however Kawaguchi has never shown the type of ability needed to score a “big” win and this is his most notable foe to date in what is a genuinely intriguing chief support bout.
A second support bout on this show will see Takeshi Sone (5-3-2, 1) battle against Il Che (7-8-4, 1) in what looks like an interesting but unspectacular 6 round bout.
In Kagoshima fans will get the chance to see a low level 8 bout card. All but one of the bouts here have been scheduled for 4 rounds with the one exception being the main event which will see Naoya Haraguchi (6-5, 2) battle against Takayuki Teraji (5-7-1, 3) in an evenly matched 6 rounder which will appeal to local fans but very few others.
As well as the action in Japan there is also a notable show in the Philippines which is packed with prospects, many of which are involved in well matched bouts.
One of the stand out contests sees Featherweight prospect Neil John Tabanao (10-0, 7) fighting Rey Perez (19-6, 4) in what looks to be a notable step up in class for the unbeaten 21 year old, who has been tipped to go very far. Tabanao should best tested here however Perez's confidence is expected to be low given he has lost his last 2 bouts and gone 2-4 in his last 6, with a stoppage loss last time out. It is however worth noting several of those losses have come at a very high level, including a razor thin decision loss to Hugo Fidel Cazares.
In an all unbeaten match up Jerry Castroverde (5-0, 3) will be facing off against Rimar Metuda (6-0, 3). This is the second successive bout against an unbeaten foe for the 18 year old Castroverde, who defeated the then 9-0 Jun Jessie Ibgos last time out, whilst the 21 year old Metuda will be facing just his second opponent with a winning record. On paper this is the stand out bout of the card and one that should leave fans really intrigued.
Arguably the most hotly tipped prospect on the card is “Golden Boy” Jack Tepora (13-0, 9), who faces Roman Canto (10-5-2, 5). The 22 year old Tepora was a very highly regarded amateur before turning professional in 2012 and has so far been impressive. On paper this looks like an interesting match up until you see that Tepora has gone 2-5-2 in his last 9 after an 8-0 start.
Another highly tipped prospect on here is Super Featherweight puncher Ardie Boyose (14-0-1, 10) who puts his unbeaten record on the line against former world title challenger Balweg Bangoyan (19-9, 8). Bangoyan, best known for his WBC Super Bantamweight title fight with Toshiaki Nishioka back in 2010, has gone 4-8 since losing to Nishioka and it seems unlikely that he'll notch a win here.
One final prospect to note is Allan Alberca (4-0, 3) who puts his unbeaten record on the line against Pablito Canada (4-5-2, 1). On paper this looks like an easy win for Alberca but he's yet to face an opponent with more than a single win and so this is actually a huge step up for the unbeaten man. That's not to say he shouldn't favoured, but his record is certainly less convincing that the raw numbers suggest.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)