This coming Saturday is a hectic day for Asian fight fans with a lot of action all crammed into a single day, and taking place all over the place. It might not be Christmas yet, but this weekend is set to feature a lot of gifts for us fight fans.
On paper the most significant bout of the weekend, at least in terms of Asian boxing, will see IBF Super Flyweight champion Jerwin Ancajas (31-1-2, 21) take on Chilean challenger Miguel Gonzalez (31-2, 8), in Mexico. This bout has been arranged in a haste after a previously scheduled bout for Ancajas fell though, and although it looks good on paper we don't see this being anything other than a straight forward win for Ancajas. The Filipino has been frustrating at times, but he is a world class fighter and Gonzalez on the other hand has been easily beaten by the two world level guys he's faced. We're expecting a stoppage from Ancajas here, even if Gonzalez does end up being an awkward assignment. A full preview of this can be read here IBF king Ancajas faces Chilean challenger
New York, USA
Another bout with meaning at world level will see former WBO Bantamweight champion Marlon Tapales (33-2, 16) take on former IBF Super Bantamweight champion Ryosuke Iwasa (26-3, 16) in a bout for the IBF "interim" Super Bantamweight title. The interim title has been created due to injuries suffered by Danny Roman, and despite interim titles not being great for boxing this bout is a brilliant one, and we're looking forward to this. Both fighters are world class, both can bang and they should be well matched, with styles that we're expecting will gel well. This should be very exciting, and we'd be shocked if we get through 12 rounds here.
In Japan we have a lot of action, with the most notable of the Japanese action coming from Tokyo, where we'll get a title double header, featuring two Super Featherweight title bouts. For fans wanting to watch this the show will be broadcast live on G+.
The most notable of the title fights will see WBO Asia Pacific Super Featherweight champion Joe Noynay (18-2-1, 7) defending his title against Kenichi Ogawa (24-1, 18). This year has been a huge one for Noynay, who has already travelled to Japan and stopped Kosuke Saka and Satoshi Shimizu, and a win here against Ogawa will put him well and truly in the world title mix. For Ogawa a win here would put him on the verge of a second world title fight. We expect bombs to be thrown, we wouldn't be surprised if both men were badly hurt at some point, and this is an ideal headliner for a televised card. Our preview of this fantastic match up can be read here Noynay looks to extend "Japanese Killer" run as he takes on Ogawa
The other title bout on this show will see Japanese Super Featherweight champion Masaru Sueyoshi (19-1-1, 11) defending his title against former Japanese Featherweight champion Kosuke Saka (19-5, 16). For Sueyoshi this bout will be his 5th defense, and if he wins we wouldn't be massively surprised to see him vacating the title in the new year to pursue regional, if not world, honours. For Saka this is a chance to put a very mixed 24 months, in which he has gone 3-2 (2), behind him and would end the year on the high following a loss to Noynay back in April. Saka has the power to hurt Sueyoshi, but Sueyoshi has the skills to outfox and out think Saka, in what is a compelling match up. Our preview of this bout can be read here Sueyoshi takes on Saka in next Japanese title defense
Also on this card will be Teiken trio Hikari Mineta (7-1, 4), Daiki Funayama (10-3-1, 3) and Koki Mioya (6-1-2, 1) who will all be taking on limited Thai opposition in what look like stay busy fights to close out the year.
A second Japanese show takes place in Kanagawa, and although much lower profile it features another title bout.
That title bout will see Japanese female Featherweight champion Kimika Miyoshi (14-12-1, 5) defending her belt against unbeaten novice Aira Midorikawa (5-0, 1), in what will be Mioyoshi's first defense of her second reign. Miyoshi claimed the belt in September, when she took a split decision win over Miki Mitsuda, ending a 4 fight losing in a bit of an upset. Although Mitsuda was no world beater we hadn't seen Miyoshi win a fight in over 3 years! Midorikawa is taking a huge step up, and although she's unbeaten she is very untested ahead of this bout, her first title bout. It'll be a huge ask for Midorikawa, but Miyoshi is certainly not unbeatable. An in depth of preview of this bout can be read here Veteran Miyoshi takes on Midorikawa in Featherweight title bout
Despite the title bout on this show the main event is technically a rematch between Yui Oikawa (7-5, 4) and Seiryu Toshikawa (11-5, 7). Coming in Oikawa has been stopped in his last 2, and desperately needs a win. He'll be driven on not only by the need of a win, but by a chance of getting to avenge a 2016 loss to Toshikawa, who beat him with a 4 round split decision. On paper Toshikawa might not look great but he's much better than his record suggests and he'll be looking to score his second win since suffering a razor thin loss in a Japanese Youth title fight to Shawn Oda in 2018.
A third Japanese show takes place in Hyogo, where fans get a card with several noteworthy names on it.
In the main event we'll see Japanese and OPBF ranked Minimumweight Ryoki Hirai (12-6-1, 4) take on the limited Hirohisa Ichikawa (7-7-2, 2). We've long seen Hirai as a fighter with a lot of potential, but someone who has faltered in many of his toughest bouts. Here we expect him to shine, as he looks to build to a title fight of some kind in 2020. With just 1 win in the last 4 years it's hard to imagine Ichikawa giving Hirai much of a test, but he could give Hirai some rounds.
World ranked fighter Kazuhiro Nishitani (20-4-1, 12) looks to continue his slow build towards a meaningful fight as he takes on Filipino veteran Monico Laurente (30-15, 7). The 32 year old Nishitani has won his last 5 by stoppage, including a notable upset win against Shuhei Tsuchiya for the Japanese Lightweight title in 2017. Sadly he has failed to make anything of his career after that win and vacated the title rather than defend it, which has done his career no favours as he continues to meander in the middle of cards in meaningless bouts like this one. Laurente isn't an awful opponent, but is certainly not a step forward for Nishitani who really has lost all the momentum of his win over Laurente.
Another bout of some note on this card will see Hiroki Tokuyama (9-1-1, 2) take on Chikato Sumida (8-3, 1). This will see Tokuyama defending his JBC and OPBF rankings and score a 5th straight win. Sumida isn't terrible, but we don't see him posing much of a test for Tokuyama here.
Yet another show with an Asian fighter in action is being held in Quebec, where fast rising Kazakh prospect Sadriddin Akhmedov (10-0, 9) takes on rugged Argentinian Jose Antonio Villalobos (12-5-2, 7). Akhmedov missed quite a bit of this year, whilst he recovered from injury and got married, but has still been busier than most and has began answering more and more questions, proving his stamina, his ability to box and move and that he can box on the back foot. There are still areas for him to work on, but for a 21 year old kid his incredibly impressive and a win here is seen as a formality before a potentially huge 2020. Villalobos will be there to try and ask questions of Akhmedov but we really don't see this as anything but an easy win for the talented Kazakh.
Diriyah, Saudi Arabia
On a show that features more morally objectionable content that we can remember for a boxing card, including 4 fighters who have failed drug tests and the show taking place in a country with a terrible history human rights, we'll see Azeri fighter Mahammadrasul Majidov (1-0, 1) take on Tom Little (10-7, 3).
This coming Saturday is an incredibly busy day for Asian boxing, with a two notable shows in Japan and very high profile bouts in the US.
The most notable of the bouts takes place in California, and is world title fight, with a supporting that also features an Asian fighter.
The main event will see IBF Super Flyweight champion Jerwin Ancajas (31-1-2, 21) battle against Mexican challenger Jonathan Javier Rodriguez (21-1, 15). For Ancajas this will be his 8th defense, though it's not the type of defense which will really improve his profile. Ancajas is incredibly talented, but seems to have been kept away from most of the other top Super Flyweights, which is incredibly disappointing and frustrating. For Rodriguez this bout is a big step up, and despite a win over Felipe Orucuta last time out there's very, very little quality on his record. Our full preview of this bout can be read here IBF king Ancajas takes on Rodriguez
On the same show we'll see Japan's Hiroki Okada (19-1, 13) attempt to bounce back from his first loss, as he takes on 2008 Olympian Javier Molina (20-2, 8) in a very interesting looking bout. Okada was stopped last time out, by Raymundo Beltran in a very entertaining bout, and is not being given an easy comeback bout here. Molina isn't a big puncher, but is skilled and has won 3 in a row since his most recent loss, a 2016 decision loss to Jamal James.
Las Vegas, USA
A second US show of note will see two very interesting looking match ups.
The most interesting of those will see the once beaten Romero Duno (21-1, 16) take on unbeaten American Ryan Garcia (18-0, 15). The talented Duno has won 12 in a row since suffering his sole defeat, a 2016 loss in Russia to Mikhail Alexeev. During his winning run he has scored some solid wins but a win here would put him on the map in a big way. On the other hand Garcia is a hotly tipped prospect, and is a hugely popular fighter who will be expected to get a real test here. Garcia has been able to build his record with noteworthy wins over the likes of Jayson Velez and Jose Lopez, but has yet to fight a young prime fighter. This is a big step up for both men and the winner will be ear marked to go a very long way.
The second bout featuring an Asian fighter will see Kazakh fighter Meiirim Nursultanov (12-0, 8) take on tough Mexican fighter Cristian Olivas (16-5, 13). The talented Kazakh has looked good coming through the ranks but this is set to be a genuine test against a flawed but tough and heavy handed for. A very interesting match and a great test, on paper, for Nursultanov.
The most significant show in Asia for the day is at the Korakuen Hall and will be shown on G+ in Japan. The card has 6 bouts scheduled for it, but 2 of those really stand out.
The main event of the show will see Japanese Light Middleweight champion Hironobu Matsunaga (15-1, 9) defending his belt against Koki Koshikawa (9-1, 6). The talented and exciting Matsunaga will be looking to make his first defense of the belt, following his title win over Nobuyuki Shindo earlier this year, and is riding a real hot streak with 9 straight wins. For Koshikawa, who was once tipped as a future star following a strong amateur background, this will be a big step up and marks his first title fight. A very interesting match up, and a very hard one to call. Our full preview of this bout can be read here Matsunaga seeks first defense as he goes up against talented Koshikawa
The chief support bout on this show will be a Japanese Light Middleweight title eliminator, as former champion Nobuyuki Shindo (20-5-2, 8) takes on Yuto Shimizu (13-4-2, 5). This a match that will decide who challenges for the title in next year's Champion Carnival and is another hard one to call. Shindo is the more accomplished fighter but Shimizu has impressed in recent fights and will be there to build on a recent win over Charles Bellamy. Our preview of this eliminator can be read here Shindo and Shimizu battle in eliminator
As well as the two main bouts there will supporting bouts featuring former world title challenger Ryohei Takahashi (17-4-1, 7) and the once beaten Kai Chiba (11-1, 7).
A second show at Korakuen Hall on Saturday, though the one which will actually take place first, is a Teiken show featuring 6 of their brightest hopefuls all in 8 round bouts.
One of those hopefuls is Shuya Masaki (13-1, 5) who looks to be heading towards a title fight in the near future. He will be up against Filipino foe Roman Canto (14-13-3, 8) in what should be a relatively easy bout for Masaki. The Japanese fighter is only a bout or two from a title of some kind, though is likely to head for an OPBF or WBO Asia Pacific title fight in 2020. Canto has lost in 5 previous visits to Japan and it's hard to imagine him getting a win here.
Another bout pitting a Japanese hopeful against a Filipino will see unbeaten Japanese puncher Hayate Kaji (13-0, 9) take on Diomel Diocos (14-4-3, 4). Early in his career Kaji looked like a star in the making, he looked like he had all the tools to go to the top, combining skills, power, speed and ambition. Sadly he's not really progressed as we'd hoped and his career seems to faltered, and he's had disappointing performances in his last two bouts. The Filipino has lost 2 of his last 3 and was stopped in 4 rounds last time he fought in Japan, being stopped in 2017 by Daigo Higa.
Former amateur stand out Kuntae Lee (2-0, 1) takes his next step up as he takes on unbeaten Indonesian hopeful Rivo Kundimang (9-0-1, 5). As an amateur Lee really was a stand out, and he is hotly tipped to be a a future star in Japan. Despite only being a novice Lee he has already taken one unbeaten record, beating Marlon Paniamogan back in July. Kundimang will be fighting outside of Indonesia for the first time, and has win his last 9 bouts in a row, following a draw on his debut back in September 2017.
In a good step up we'll also see Mikito Nakano (3-0, 3) take on Filipino foe KJ Natuplag (8-1-2, 7), in an excellent bout. The talented Nakano has adapted well to the professional ranks and looks to be on his way to real success at Featherweight in the coming years. On paper this is a step up, but Nakano has looked very good, and last time out he really impressed against Arvin Young. Natuplag has shown real promise, and back in March he stopped Robert Udtohan, but was beaten last time out by Joe Tejones. We're expecting an excellent showing from Nakano who will likely find himself in the title mix next year.
Also on this card will be Kenshin Oshima (6-1-1, 3) and Masaya Tamayama (12-2, 6), who look to continue their rise through the ranks and move towards a title fight in the coming 18 months or so.
One of the other interesting bouts for the day will see the unbeaten Tajik fighter Muhammadkhuja Yaqubov (14-0, 9) take on the once beaten Abraham Montoya (18-1-1, 13), in what will be Yaqubov's second defense of the WBC International Super Featherweight title. The talented Yaqubov has impressed recently and moved towards a world title fight thanks to wins over the likes of Mark Urvanov, Victor Alejandro Zunigaabd Emanuel Lopez, and another win here would leave him on the verge of a shot. Montoya, from Mexico, is unbeaten in 19 but this will be his first bout outside of Mexico.
Unbeaten Kazakh Heavyweight Issa Akberbayev (20-0-0-1, 15) takes on his biggest test so far as he battles against 2016 Olympic champion Evgeny Tishchenko (5-0, 3), who is of course best known for his controversial Olympic win over Vasiliy Levit in the Olympic final. Despite being unbeaten the Kazakh will be the very clear under-dog and the Russian will be the favourite. Notably Akberbayev has been away from the ring for almost 2 years, and it's hard to not imagine that being a major issue here, against his most notable foe so far.
In Australia we'll see the unbeaten Chris Brackin (7-0, 3), an Australian local, take on Indian fighter Balkar Singh (3-1, 1). Singh lost last time out, when he was out pointed by the unbeaten Andrew Hunt over 4 rounds, and we suspect he will suffer another loss here to the talented Brackin.
This coming Saturday is a really interesting day for Asian fight fans, with a notable show in Japan and the Philippines, and then fighters from those two countries colliding in California at the end of the day. As well as the major shows there is also a small card in Singapore.
The biggest bout of the day is, obviously, the US bout, which will see IBF Super Flyweight champion Jerwin Ancajas (30-1-2, 20) defending his title against mandatory challenger Ryuichi Funai (31-7, 22). For Ancajas the bout will serve as his 7th defense of the title, which he won back in September 2016, and will be his third mandatory. The champion really under-performed last time out, narrowly holding on to the belt against Alejandro Santiago Barrios, and would be expected to put on a better showing here. Funai on the other hand is an unknown outside of Japan, though is a former Japanese and WBO Asia Pacific champion who has mixed in good company, with bouts against the likes of Shinsuke Yamanaka, Rolly Lunas, Sho Ishida and Warlito Parrenas. The challenger has earned this shot, winning an eliminator last year, but will be regarded as a clear under-dog. A full preview of this bout is available here - Ancajas takes on mandatory challenger Funai
In Tokyo fans will get the chance to attend a Teiken promoted card at Korakuen Hall. Sadly this will only be shown on tape delay, meaning those not in the venue will have to wait to see the bouts.
The main event here will see Japanese Super Featherweight champion Masaru Sueyoshi (18-1-1, 11) defending his title in a mandatory bout against Ken Osato (15-2-1, 4), in what is their second meeting. These two fought in February 2018, when Sueyoshi had to recover from a knockdown to stop Osato in the 8th round. Since then Sueyoshi has gone 1-0-1, fighting to a draw over 12 rounds with Hironori Mishiro, and will be looking for bigger bouts later in the year. Osato on the other has scored back to back decision wins since losing to Sueyoshi, but this is a step up from those wins. A full preview of this bout is available here Sueyoshi looks to over-come Osato again!
The chief support bout here will see the once beaten Shuya Masaki (11-1, 5) take on Korean visitor Nam Jun Lee (10-5-3, 4). For Masaki the bout is the first since his narrow win over Izuki Tomioka last year, in what was his third bout of 2018. It's notable Lee's first bout since June 2017. Notably the 35 year old Korean has had a very stop start Korea, but does hold notable wins over Sa Myung Noh and Jelbirt Gomera, so could be a better test than his record suggests.
Another very notable bout on this card is the Japanese debut of Shokichi Iwata (1-0, 1), who debuted last year in the US. The talented and touted Iwata will face 2018 Rookie of the Year winner Daiki Kameyama (7-2-1, 2), in a very, very interesting match up. Iwata won his debut but didn't look sensational, and this could prove to be too much too soon for the former amateur standout, and a huge chance for the 22 year old Kameyama to build on his Rookie success.
Other interesting bouts on this card include Junpei Tsujimoto (4-1-3, 2) battling against Tetsuya Yoshimura (5-3-1, 4) and Hiroki Yajima (9-7-3, 4) facing off with Mirai Imagawa (9-5, 3), with both Imagawa and Tsujimoto having won Rookie of the Year in recent years. There will also be a chance for the hard hitting Yamato Hata (7-1, 7) to pick up another win, as he takes on Indonesian Alvius Maufani (6-2-2, 3), in what should be a straight forward bout for the local.
Metro Manila, Philippines
Of course it's not just Japan that has a great show but also the Philippines, with ESPN5 set to show a title fest from Metro Manila, with this show being aired live.
The pick of the bouts here is another Philippines Vs Japan clash, as Al Toyogon (10-2-1, 6) looks to defense his WBC Asian Boxing Council Silver Super Featherweight title against in form Japanese fighter Ryo Sagawa (6-1, 4). The 21 year old Toyogon will be seeking his second defense here, and will be looking to record a 6th straight win as he continues to develop into a very solid fighter. Sagawa on the other hand gets his first title shot, and he clearly deserves it on the back of wins against Junki Sasaki, Ryo Matsumoto and Shingo Kawamura. This is probably the more intriguing bout of the day, even more saw than the world title bout. A full preview of this bout is available here Toyogon and Sagawa battle for regional title!
A second WBC Asian Boxing Council Silver title fight takes place at Bantamweight and will see the heavy handed Jun Blazo (11-6-3, 8) take on Benezer Alolod (19-11-5, 7). Blazo has lost 4 of his last 7, but has spun off 3 straight wins coming into this bout and will be confident of extending that run. Alolod is very much Mr Inconsistent with a 6-6 record in his last 12. Hard to get a read on this, but if both are up for it we could get a very good fight.
In a GAB Lightweight title fight Roldan Aldea (12-7-1, 7) will be seeking his first defense, as he takes on Rey Ramos (8-11-2, 3), in what looks like a mismatch whilst 5lbs north we'll see Jheritz Chavez (8-3-2, 6) seek his second defense of the GAB Light Welterweight title, facing off with Junar Adante (7-11-1, 4). Sadly neither of these domestic title bouts look particularly competitive.
In Singapore local hopeful Nurshahidah Roslie (12-2, 9) will be seeking a 5th straight win as she takes on Thai novice Suphansa Phooong (1-0), in what looks like a mismatch, over 6 rounds. Roslie isn't the huge star that Singaporean boxing needs to really kick-start something but the Thai is an inexperienced teenager, and will be making her international debut.
The most notable show for us is in California where we two notable Asian fighters in action. One is defending a world title whilst the the other is kicking off his career properly, after a very stop-start to his professional boxing career.
The world champion is Filipino fighter Jerwin Ancajas (30-1-1, 20), who will be making his 6th defense of the IBF Super Flyweight title. Sadly for a man who has been a world champion for over 2 years Ancajas has had a disappointing reign, and it won't be helped here, as he takes on the little known Alejandro Santiago Barrios (16-2-4, 7). The 22 year old Mexican challenger has never scored a win of note, fighting a draw in his most notable bouts. Ancajas should be mixing with the top Super Flyweight, who mostly seem to be wanting to fight each other, but instead is fighting third tier foes like this. A full preview of this bout can be read here - Ancajas returns to defend title against little known Mexican
Thankfully the other bout involving an Asian on this show is much more interesting, despite being less significant. That's because we'll finally see former Kazakh amateur star Janibek Alimkhanuly (2-0, 1) make his US debut, and take on the hard hitting Carlos Galvan (16-7-1, 15). The touted Alimkhanuly has had a very frustrating start to professional boxing, fighting once in 2016 and once in 2017, but now appears to have his mind set on becoming a full time professional. Galvan is no push over. Like many Colombian Galvan is a big puncher, but he also showed his toughness earlier this year, when he went the distance against Willie Monroe Jr. This is a great chance for Alimkhanuly to impress US audiences and to shine in front of new promoter Bob Arum.
A second Kazakh will be on this show, albeit in a minor role. That will be Askhat Ualikhanov (3-1, 2) who will be stepping up in class to take on 27 year old American fighter Angel Hernandez(13-10-2 8 KOs).
We also get a really interesting Kazakh Vs Colombian match up in Florida as the unbeaten Mussa Tursyngaliyev (7-0, 6) takes foe Deivi Julio Bassa (20-5-0-1, 12) in a 10 round contest. The unbeaten Kazakh began his career on fire, winning his first 6 bouts in the space of 19 days. Since then however he's only fought once, stopping Luis Hinojosa. This is a big step up for Tursyngaliyev but the Colombian fighter has struggled in recent years, and has lost 3 of his last 4. A few years ago when Bassa lost his unbeaten record to Kenichi Ogawa, and since then he has really struggled. We expect that struggle to continue here.
In Asia the most interesting card is from China, where we get several title bouts with a number of notable names involved. We won't go through all the bouts, but we will look at 3 of them.
The most interesting is a China Vs Philippines contest, as Wulan Tuolehazi (8-3-1, 4) takes on OPBF champion Jayr Raquinel (10-0-1, 7) in a bout for the WBC silver Flyweight title. On paper this doesn't look brilliant, but Tuolehazi is much better than his record suggests with a 7 fight unbeaten run, with some good wins during that run, including a 4th round TKO over Kwanthai Sithmorseng. Talking about good runs Raquinel has notched two big wins this year over Keisuke Nakayama and Shun Kosaka to win and defense the OPBF title. This could be very competitive.
In a supporting bout at Lightweight Zhimin Wang (10-3, 3) will face off with Indonesian foe Hero Tito (27-13-2, 11) for the WBC Asian Boxing Council Lightweight title. Again this doesn't look amazing but Wang isn't a push over, he's no world beater but on the Asian scene there are a lot of potential match ups for him to be involved in down the line. Tito is pretty much a regional journeyman if we're being honest but should take Wang the rounds in what could be an entertaining contest.
In a Heavyweight bout unbeaten Chinese hopeful Zhilei Zhang (19-0, 15) will face off with American Don Haynesworth (15-2-1, 13) in what will be Zhang's first defense of the WBO Oriental Heavyweight title. At the age of 35 Zhang can ill afford bouts at this level if he wants to move on to fighting for a world title. In theory this will help with his WBO ranking but little else. The 36 year old Hayenesworth does have power, and could be a risk if he can connect on Zhang, but has lost to the only notable name he's face, losing in 3 rounds to Bryant Jennings. We expect Zhang to win, but we don't really know why he's wasting his time with bouts against the likes of Haynesworth.
We are also getting a show from Japan, which doesn't look much on paper but is actually the second set of East Japan Rookie of the Year semi finals. The winners will face the winners from the bouts on Thursday. Given the fact there will be 10 bouts on this card we'll only take a snapshot and look at a few of the more interesting looking contests.
The Minimumweight bout here will see Masatora Okada (4-2, 2) face off with Shunsuke Isa (6-1, 1). Neither of these two are unbeaten but they do look well matched and we expect this to be 4 rounds of competitive action. Of the two men Okada is the older man, at 24, and is arguably the naturally trickier given he's a southpaw. However he has only won a single bout out of his last 3. Isa is 20 years old and has bounced back from his sole, to the 2017 East Japan Rookie of the Year, with a couple of decision wins. This could be very interesting and very competitive.
At Super Featherweight we see 21 year old's clash with Keita Hayashi (4-3, 3) facing off with Yusaku Sekishima (5-1, 3). Through his 7 fight career Hayashi has been a “stop or be stopped” fighter, with only 1 of his bouts going the distance. Whilst he can hit he can also be hurt. As for Sekishima he has been on a roll, and strung together 5 straight wins after a loss on debut. The form is certainly on Skeishima's side, but Hayashi's power could be the game changer.
At Welterweight the hard hitting Tetsuya Yoshimura (4-2-1, 3) will face off with the unbeaten Kojiro Nishikawa (3-0, 1). As with the aforementioned Hayashi we tend to see Yoshimura either stopping his foes, or scoring a stoppage, with only 2 of his 7 bouts going the distance. Saying that however it was his last 2 bouts that both went the schedule. At 30 years old Nishikawa will likely see the 2018 Rookie of the Year as the way to put himself on the map and will not be wanting to get this far for nothing.
East Jakarta, Indonesia
Another small show till take place in Indonesia, with Martin Daniel promoting the card.
The main event will see Andika Sabu (14-0, 7), also known as Andika D'Golden Boy, risk his unbeaten record against Melianus Mirin (9-5, 6). On paper this is a mismatch between the two Indonesian youngsters, but the realities is that Sabu isn't that proven and is actually the man stepping up in class here. Mirin has suffered his last couple of losses against talented Thai's and he certainly has the skills to give Sabu a test here.
On the under card Rivo Kundimang (5-0, 1) and Jufri Kakahure (1-0, 1) will be in action, as they both look at advance their career. Both will be facing local foes and looking to take a big step forward, towards bigger and better fights.
After a huge Friday for Japanese fight fans we get an interesting card on Saturday with interest for fans across Asia.
The most notable bout of the day is a huge one for Filipino fight fans, as IBF Super Flyweight champion Jerwin Ancajas (29-1-1, 20) defends his title against mandatory challenger Jonas Sultan (14-3, 0). This all-Filipino bout will the first all-Filipino world title bout in over 90 years and will see the winner really get a chance to become a big name back home, as well as solidifying themselves as one of the top Super Flyweights on the planet. Unfortunately it would seem likely that both are likely to miss out on the HBO “Superfly” series of shows, but if the winner can unify with WBA champion Kal Yafai that may not be too much of a problem in the short term.
For Mongolian fans attention should be shifted to Mississippi as unbeaten prospect Tugstsogt Nyambayar (9-0, 8) takes a huge step up to face off with former interim world champion Oscar Escandon (25-3, 17). The Mongolian hopeful was taken the distance for the first time in his last bout, and was dropped in that bout by Harmonito Dela Torre, but has looked capable of going all the way and this upcoming bout should be the sort of bout he needs to get himself in to the title mix. Escandon is just 15 months removed from an excellent KO win over Robinson Castellanos, but has lost his only bout since then, being stopped by Gary Russel Jr, and should really be 1-3 in his last 4, dating back over 3 years. This is a decent step up, but one that Nyambayar should manage without too many issues.
In Canada fans will be able to see hard hitting Kazakh hopeful Batyrzhan Jukembayev (12-0-0-2, 10) battle against Argentinian Jonathan Jose Eniz (20-9-1-1, 7) for the vacant WBC Continental Americas Light Welterweight title. The talented Kazakh does look like a very promising fighter but does need a genuine test after having had his way in many of his bouts so far. Given that Enil has been stopped only once, way back in 2015 by German Argentino Benitez, we're expecting him to be a real test for the Kazakh who may well need to show his skills as well as his power.
As for Japanese fans they can look a little bit closer to home thanks to a low key card in Osaka. The card is a pretty weak one but is headlined by former Japanese Light Flyweight champion Kenichi Horikawa (35-15-1, 9), who takes on a Thai we believe will be Mongkol Kamsommat (6-3, 5). This should be an easy win for Horikawa who fights in bis 52nd professional bout, which would see him become the outright number one for the most fights of any currently active Japanese fighter.
The Super Flyweight division is widely regarded as one of the best in the sport, even with Naoya Inoue leaving the division to make a mark at Bantamweight. Sadly though the division is a frustrating one with a number of fighters making themselves unavailable for big fights.
One such fighter is IBF Super Flyweight champion Jerwin Ancajas (28-1-1, 19), who signed with Top Rank in late 2017 and froze himself out of fights against the likes of Inoue and the fighters who are currently tied to HBO. As a result of being frozen out of specific fights we won't see Ancajas in with a notable name, and instead he will be kicking off his 2018 with an IBF world title defense against Israel Gonzalez (21-1, 8). The talented Ancajas had an excellent 2017, Going 3-0 (3) for the year and beating the likes of Jose Alfredo Rodriguez, Teiru Kinoshita and Jamie Conlan and will be looking to continue his great momentum here. Sadly though Gonzalez, who the IBF miraculously ranked #10, feels like a huge step backwards, with the Mexican challenger really doing little to show he belongs at this level. The bout has been put together as a showcase for Ancajas on US TV and should be a real chance to shine for the Filipino, who will hopefully get better competition later in the year.
At the Korakuen Hall we see the first of this year's Champion Carnival bouts, as Japanese Super Featherweight champion Masaru Sueyoshi (16-1, 10) defends his title against Ken Osato (13-1-1, 4). The bout will be Sueyoshi's first defense of the title, which he won last October with a decision over Ribo Takahata whilst Osato will be having his first title bout. In 2017 we saw Sueyoshi have a great year, going 3-0 (2) but left questions to be asked with some of his performances and he will look to answer them here. Osato had a great 2017 himself, going 3-0 (1) with notable wins Sho Nagata and Satoru Sugita, with the Sugita win earning Osato a shot at the title. This should be a very skilled bout, with both men being very talented, and a very evenly matched bout, between two top domestic fighters.
In the chief support bout Japanese ranked Welterweight Yuki Nagano (12-2, 9) will face off with Thai visitor Najilek Sor Boonlieng (0-1). Coming into this Nagano is riding a 10 fight winning run, and is closing in on a title fight. Although not the greatest of fighters Nagano is a big puncher and should have significant size over the Thai, who will be lucky to last more than 3 rounds.
A second supportig bout of note will see unbeaten hopeful Haruaki Kamiya (7-0, 3) take on win-less Thai Chatchai Phonlemueangdee (0-3). Kamiya has had a real slow burn of a career, fighting only 4 times since the end of 2014, but if he gets sorted he could go quite far. Sadly bouts like this won't help him develop or move towards the bigger bouts than his early promises suggested he could end up having. As for the Thai he has been stopped in all 3 of his defeats.
In the Thai capital fans will be able to see Chinese puncher Pui Yu Lim (5-0, 5) take on Indonesian journeyman Ramadhan Weriuw (17-9-1, 15) in a bout for the WBC Interim Asian Boxing Council Middleweight title. On paper this is a step backwards for Lim, who has already scored wins over better fights than Weriuw, but with 5 fights last year Lim is a busy fighter and could use this interim title to help secure more meaningful bouts down the line.
This coming Saturday is a genuine brilliant day for fight fans who follow the Asia fight scene, with a couple of world title bouts, along side a number of other interesting contests.
Belfast, Northern Ireland
The biggest fight of the weekend for Asian fight fans takes places in Belfast and will see IBF Super Flyweight champion Jerwin Ancajas (27-1-1, 18) make his third defense of the title, as he takes on unbeaten challenger Jamie Conlan (19-0, 11). In some ways Ancajas is the forgotten man at 115lbs, a talented and beautiful to watch pure boxer, but a man who lacks the star power of Naoya Inoue, the hype of Kal Yafai and the power of Srisaket Sor Rungvisai. Although over-looked by many he's going to be looking to make a mark here. As for Conlan he's a man who really can't help but be involved in thrilling contests, no matter who he's against. The bout will be a massive step up for the unbeaten man, but he's almost certain to put on a show, win or lose.
Incheon, South Korea
Another world title fight takes place in Korea and will see WBA female Super Featherweight champion Hyun Mi Choi (14-0-1, 4) seek her next defense, as she faces off with Mexican challenger Jessica Gonzalez (7-3-2-3, 1). Choi is Korea's only world champion,and is one of the few beacons of success for Korean boxing, but has lacked suitable competition in recent fights and hasn't really been able to show her skills. Gonzalez is a decent enough foe, but falls much into the same categories as Choi's other recent foes, in being limited and lacking the skills, and likely desire, to let the champion shine.
In a minor title bout we'll see Korean local Hye Soo Park (4-7-1, 1) take on the unbeaten Hei Tao Zhang (2-0, 1) for the WBF Intercontinental Light Flyweight. The match up is an interesting one, though nothing too remarkable, with the most interesting thing being the step up for the unbeaten 19 year old Chinese hopeful.
Although there are a couple of world title fights featuring Asian fighters we dare suggest that the most interesting bout to feature an Asian is actually a non-title fight, between two unbeaten Asian fighters. The fight in question will see the very highly regarded Mongolian talent Tugstsogt Nyambayar (8-0, 8) taking on Filipino Harmonito Dela Torre (19-0, 12). The winner of this will push themselves well on the way to a world title fight, in the often over-looked Super Bantamweight division, whilst the winner will have to rebuild their careers.
Da Lian, China
In China we get a small card, with a main event that promises explosive action.
That main event is a WBO Youth Super Middleweight title bout, between China's Wuzhati Nuerlang (8-1, 8) and Ghana's Iddrisa Amadu (9-1, 9). With 17 stoppage wins in a combined 19 fights we're expecting this to be a lot of fun, very exciting and very hard hitting.
Another bout of some note on this show will see the unbeaten Xiaolu Mu (8-0-1, 3) take on the once beaten Shidong Cai (5-1-1, 2). This should be an interesting contest even if it does lack any sort of international appeal.
New South Wales, Australia
Interestingly on we'll see the debuting Natalie Jenkinsen (0-0) take on Thai Siriwan Thongmanit (6-10-1), who is a former world title challenger and has twice been stopped by the aforementioned Hyun Mi Choi.
Attention turns to Australia this coming Sunday as Top Rank host a major card, headlined by one Filipino star, and acting as a potential show case for the another.
The main bout will see the iconic Manny Pacquiao (59-6-2, 38) defending the WBO Welterweight title against unbeaten Australian challenger Jeff Horn (16-0-1, 11). Although Pacquiao is coming to the end of his great career he is expected to still have too much for Horn, who is stepping up massively to face the “Pacman”. Although the bout does see Pacquiao defending his title the contest has lacked the big fight feel of most Pacquiao bouts and it certainly hasn't caught the attention of international fans, but is set to do big numbers in Australia where demand for the tickets has been high.
A second world title fight on this card will see talented Filipino fighter Jerwin Ancajas (26-1-1,17) defending his IBF Super Flyweight title against Japanese challenger Teiru Kinoshita (25-1-1, 8), who enters the bout as the mandatory challenger. Coming into this Ancajas will be seeking his second defense of the title that he won last year, when he upset McJoe Arroyo, and he will be hoping that an impressive win here opens the door to major bouts in the red hot Super Flyweight division. For Kinoshita the bout will see him making his international debut, and getting his second world title fight, following a loss to Zolani Tete. The bout is potentially a huge opportunity for the winner to move into divisional super fights but it a bout where the champion will be strongly favoured.
Also on this card is Filipino youngster Jonel Dapidran (8-1, 4), who will be making his international debut. The Filipino youngster will be looking to score his second successive win here as he takes on Australian local Brent Dames (5-3), who was beaten last time in a 10 rounder. This is a tough ask for Dapidran, but he has shown plenty of promise and will be coming in to this one with the hope of scoring a huge win on a card headlined by his older cousin Manny Pacquiao.
As well as the action in Australia there will also be a small card in China. The most notable bout on the card will see rising local puncher Pui Yu Lim (3-0, 3) battling against Indonesian foe Skak Max (8-14, 7). Although Lim is relatively unknown he has impressed so far, and last time out the confident Chinese fighter stopped Chaloemporn Singwancha in Thailand and will now be looking to continue his rise here. Max has never won outside of Indonesia and it's hard to see him winning here.
To begin the Chinese new year we get the first of two shows at the Cotai Arena in Macao, with the second set to be held on January 30th.
In the main event we'll see IBF Super Flyweight champion Jerwin Ancajas (25-1-1, 19) make his first defense as he takes on Mexican veteran Jose Alfredo Rodriguez (32-4, 19), who is best known for losing to Kazuto Ioka on a New Year's Eve show and to Milan Melindo the following year. For Ancajas it's a bout that should be an easy first defense,but in many ways it's also a chance for him to return to Macau, where he has fought twice before, earn some money following a paltry purse for his title win, and potentially move towards some bigger and better fights in 2017. For Rodriguez the bout is a huge opportunity to win a world title, but he'll be the clear under-dog for the bout, and it's hard to see what he has to really test Ancajas.
In a supporting bout we see unbeaten Heavyweights collide as Frenchman Raphael Tronche (8-0, 4) takes on touted Romanian Bogdan Dinu (16-0, 12) for the IBF Inter-Continental Heavyweight title. Although not a star Dinu has the potential to become a force on the Heavyweight scene and a win here could see the talented Romanian move into the IBF world rankings and give his career a huge shot in the arm. Troche is a real unknown and this will be a huge step up for him, and his first fight above the French domestic scene.
Another supporting Heavyweight bout will see Carlos Takam (33-3-1, 25) face off with Marcin Rekowski (17-4, 4) in what should be a straight forward win for the under-rated Frenchman. The 39 Rekowski has lost 3 of his last 4 and although he holds wins over Danny Williams and Oliver McCall both of those wins came against fighters well beyond their best.
Metro Manila, Philippines
There will also be a show in the Philippines, although a small card it does have some people of note on it.
The most notable fighter on the card is Argie Toquero (11-5-2, 8), who is looking to secure his third win since his controversial 2016 loss to Rikki Naito in Kanagawa. In the opposite corner to Toquero will be veteran Danilo Pena (27-26-4, 11). Although Toquero is is far from a world class prospect he is a handful and should easily see off Pena.
In a supporting bout Jonel Dapidran (7-1, 4) will be looking to bounce back from his first professional loss. Dapidran will be up against Jesson Inso (9-6-1, 3) and should be strongly favoured here, despite the 19 year old being beaten last time our by the unheralded Richard Morales back in October.
Another once beaten teenager on this show is Cris Ocano (7-1-1, 5), who will be taking on the limited Roy Lagrada (3-14-1, 3) in a 6 rounder. Ocano should be more than good enough to over-come Lagrada, who has lost his last 8 in a row.
The growth of Indian boxing continues this coming Sunday as we get a show in Imphal.
In the main event fans will see the unbeaten Siddharth Ravindra Varma (3-0) battle with the debuting Jaganathan (0-0). The rest of the card sees local debutants taking on limited visitors, but shows the clear growth behind Indian boxing as we go forward.
The most notable bout of the day, at least in Asian circles, sees once beaten Filipino fighter Jerwin Ancajas (24-1-1, 16) getting his long await world title shot against the unbeaten IBF Super Flyweight champion McJoe Arroyo (17-0, 8). Arroyo won the title in 2015, taking a debatable decision over Filipino Arthur Villanueva in a very forgettable bout, but has been inactive since with hand issues. For Ancajas, who has been waiting for his shot, this has been a long wait and he'll be raring to go at the man who has pretty much froze his career for 6 months.
Metro Manila, Philippines
As well as the Ancajas/Arroyo bout we have more action in the Philippines with a showcase card in Metro Manila.
One of the being show cased is the unbeaten, third generation fighter, Dave Penalosa (11-0, 8) who puts his unbeaten record on the line against the limited Edison Berwela (13-34-8, 3) in what should be a straight forward win for the grandson of Carl Penalosa, and the son of Dodie Boy Penalosa.
Staying with the Penalosa dynasty we'll also see Carlo Caesar Penalosa (5-0, 1) put his unbeaten record on the line against the limited and light hitting Ernie Mino Jr (4-6-2). Like the bout with Dave Penalosa we're next expecting any surprises here.
Thankfully the card does have some interesting match ups as well as the show cases. One of those will see once beaten puncher Jeric Potaso (2-1, 2) battle the unbeaten KJ Natuplag (2-0, 2) in a bout that shouldn't be expected to go the distance. Another sees the unbeaten pairing of Claudevan Sese (3-0-2, 1) and John Lawrence Ordonio (4-0-1, 3) face off in arguably the best matched bout of the card.